Because of the Ann Arbor connection, the sheriff makes several trips down here. In fact, maybe as much as half of the book takes place in this city. Judith Guest was a U-M student in the 1950s, but her memories are no longer exact, and I enjoyed finding several things about Ann Arbor that she had wrong. For instance, the local high school in The Tarnished Eye is Ann Arbor High, which ceased to exist shortly after Guest lived here. At one point she mentions a Burger King at the intersection of State and Washtenaw, two streets that haven't crossed in the twenty-five years I've lived in town. But she has obviously done some research about the changed cultural life of our city, she writes well about the student sections close to the university, and she understands our changing demographics. The new subdivisions on the edges of town, filled with three-story million-dollar homes clustered around golf courses, have now found a very interesting place in fiction.
Judith Guest returns to Ann Arbor to read from The Tarnished Eye at Nicola's Books on Wednesday, June 30.
[Originally published in June, 2004.]