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Book review: <i>Tuxes</i> by Scott Fivelson

the cover of the book

An exciting tale of love, betrayal, money, high fashion, and an unexpected cave man deep in the heart of Texas.

The story

At almost seventy, Price Bundleworth has it all - an attractive and supportive wife, an attractive and vacuous daughter, a beautiful home, a multinational corporation, a strong silent chauffeur, a fantastic butler, and of course, a selection of high flying friends. Money and power excite him the way nothing else does, and, in the lead up to his birthday, he has solidified his rule over Tuxaco, creators of the finest tuxedos in the world. Thanks to an obliging board, he is now able to rule the company for the rest of his life, as the oldest male Bundleworth. Life couldn't be sweeter.

Until the Bundleworth family is thrown into upheaval by the return of Cad Bundleworth, disgraced son of Price, from the dead. Cad dons his tux and sets off to break new ground for the family business in the Arctic Circle. However, he returns with something more than a thriving Arctic tuxedo business... he returns with BC, the new owner of Tuxaco. And there's nothing Price can do about it.

Can Price get his business back? Has Cad really reformed from a mime artist with left leaning proclivities? Will BC run the business into the ground? Will Price's daughter settle her sluttish and self destructive ways? And who is trying to destroy the Bundleworth empire?

The style

Scott Fivelson has taken the concept of a Danielle Steel-style, Texan family saga, and made it shorter, punchier, far less serious, and, in my humble opinion, much more readable. Point in case - I've never read a Danielle Steel.

Written in the third person, Tuxes follows all the characters and their bewildering relationships, proclivities, and follies while keeping an array of twists and unexpected turns for the reader to snicker about. The writing style is smirk-worthy the whole way through - reminiscent of a cross between early Ben Elton and a bit of Carl Hiassen, Fivelson masters comedic satire in a way that some Americans just never manage, try as they might. The actual plot line is soap-opera-esque, with returned relatives, cavemen unfrozen by science, oddly familiar chauffeurs, affairs, the obligatory murder, and a courtroom scene. While this kind of thing can get exhausting, Fivelson knew when to wrap it up, and at 170 pages the story is tight and full of action, with no drag.

The characters are great fun; they all manage to have the two dimensionality of stereotypes to begin with, and then are pushed into the realm of the hilarious as they are developed. Attention to detail is the key here, particularly considering the length, and sufficient attention there was.

Tuxes is a light, short read guaranteed to keep you smirking the whole way through, with the odd sharp social observation to keep the reader on their toes.

Who is this book for?

Good holiday reading - although avid fans of the Texan family saga genre should be aware that it is, of course, a satire, and therefore read it as intended.

Some people just don't getsatire...

If you like this book, you would also like...

Ben Elton's earlier stuff before he got a bit repetitive. His social commentary, which was mainly environmental, is very astute and his satirical characterization is funny. But it's not about tuxedo tycoons, which, frankly, I enjoyed as a subject matter.

In short

Title: Tuxes
Author: Scott Fivelson
Publisher: Beachside Press
ISBN: 0978982218
Year published: 2008
Pages: 170
Genre(s): Family saga, Satire, Fiction
Review Type: