Lunch at the Piccadilly
~ A Capsule Book Review by Allen Kopp ~
Lunch at the Piccadilly, by Clyde Edgerton, is a serio-comic novel set in a North Carolina nursing home in the 1980s. Carl Turnage is a timid bachelor in his thirties whose profession is making metal awnings. He was raised by his mother and her two sisters, Aunt Lil and Aunt Elizabeth. His mother and his Aunt Elizabeth have both died, but there’s still Aunt Lil Olive. She’s in her nineties and has recently taken up residence in a nursing home called Rosehaven. She hopes to return home to own apartment in a month or so but, with her health in decline, that might never happen.
Carl couldn’t be more attentive to his Aunt Lil. He indulges her in all her whims, including her desire to continue to drive her ’89 Oldsmobile, long after she should have given up driving. He wants to have that little talk with her about surrendering her car keys, but he just can’t seem to get around to it.
A man named L. Ray Flowers is a resident in the nursing home on a temporary basis while he recovers from knee surgery. He’s a sort of self-proclaimed minister. He wants to start a worldwide movement in which nursing homes and churches are merged into one entity called “nurches.” (He seems to know nothing about separation of church and state.) He’s in his early sixties, much younger than most of the other residents.
Most of the ladies are all aflutter over Mr. Flowers; all except one, a woman named Darla Avery who remembers him from high school, some forty-five years earlier. What Darla remembers about him isn’t a pleasant memory. She had a crush on him in high school. He asked her out on a date and when he got her alone in the car he masturbated in front of her. Darla then tells the other ladies in the nursing home that Mr. Flowers exposed himself to her, forgetting to mention that it had happened all those decades earlier. Mr. Flowers is then asked to leave the nursing home by a manager who doesn’t bother to find out the truth. They simply can’t have any old man in residence showing his private parts to any of the ladies. Does he get the benefit of the doubt? Of course not.
Clyde Edgerton’s books are what might be considered “light” reading, but that doesn’t mean they are lacking in substance or literary merit. They are speedy reading, effortless reading. If you read books and you want fast, easy, and as effortless as breathing, you might give ol’ Clyde a go. You won’t be hit over the head with political correctness or pretentious, “with-it” bullshit.
Copyright © 2022 by Allen Kopp