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PRAISE AND REVIEWS

  • "...humor and pathos combine to make this contemporary diary of a marriage an often touching book." ~

    -Ft. Worth Star Telegram

  • "Like all good stories about moratality and change, TheVestal Virgin Room is full of life and memorable details....Smith sizes up his characters just right, with humor and compassion, and that's not as easy as he makes it look." ~

    -Texas Observer (read full review)

  • "C.W. Smith has endowed his characters with such warmth and humor one cannot help liking them as much as the author obviously does. Married love -- the pitfalls and triumphs of a love-term relationship -- seldom has been portrayed with such fine balance. The Vestal Virgin Room is both heartbreaking and hilarious; Smith has achieved that most difficult of genres, the tragi-comic novel." ~

    -St. Louis Post-Dispatch (read full review)

  • "The main theme of The Vestal Virgin Room -- facing your limitations and not allowing them to cheat you out of happiness -- rings out loud and true. Add in Smith's entertaining riffs about the ins and outs of show business on the lower levels and you've got a quick, clever and, above all else, refreshingly affectionate novel. And afer you've read it, I doubt that you'll every watch another Don and Dottie act in a hotel lounge with quite the same smug attitude." ~

    -Houston Post (read full review)

  • The Vestal Virgin Room is a marvelous document of everyday human aspiration and acceptance." ~

    -Dallas Morning News (read full review)

  • "That Don and Dottie manage to ride out the turbulence in their marriage and emerge as survivors makes this a lovely and tender book." ~

    -Publishers Weekly (read full review)

  • "...this novel offers a thoroughly convincing look at sometimes confused but decent, intelligent, loving people." ~

    -Booklist (read full review)

  • "C.W. Smith has a wonderful ear for dialogue, and his re-creation of Don and Dottie's act is brilliant in its authentic mediocrity. They will never be stars, yet they remain optimistic and loving through small triumphs and major setbacks. This very funny yet essentially serious novel is a genuine pleasure." ~

    -Miami Herald (read full review)

  • The Vestal Virgin Room "takes us on an odyssey stretching from the conservative Midwest to Las Vegas with a surprisingly moving blend of satire, compassion, debauchery and pathos....humor and tragedy are as much in harmony here as Don and Dottie's singing duets." ~

    -Newsday (read full review)

  • "Readers can hope that if the worst that can happen ever becomes a reality for them, they will face it with the strength and dignity of these two memorable characters." ~

    -Kansas City Star (read full review)

 

 

The Vestal Virgin Room

THE STORY

The Vestal Virgin Room is an ebullient tragicomic novel that explores the hopes and fears of two small-time entertainers in pursuit of the American dream. For years Don and Dottie have been eking out a living with their piano, drum, and vocal act in mediocre night clubs and Holiday Inns; all over the Midwest. Now they're on the road again, but this time with a difference. This time, at the end of their tour, they'll be playing Las Vegas - only one night, only the lounge, only the intermissions, and not in a first-rate hotel. But it's a break, and secretly they're both got a lot riding on it.

In the car, and in the confinement of their hotel rooms, the tension between them begins to mount. Don's brashness grows more pronounced as he tries to hide his nervousness. Dottie, who knows how much he wants this chance, cannot express her own ambivalence. Gradually, as we hear first one point of view, then the other, all their conflicting ambitions, as well as their mutual tragedy, are brought to the surface, threatening to destroy the love that has sustained them so long.

Juxtaposing the outrageously comic scenes of Don and Dottie's public performances with the intense soul-searching of their private moments, C.W., Smith has created a brilliantly balance dnovel fraught with laughter and tears.

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Jane Albritton of the Dallas Public Library interviewed C.W. Smith in 1984 about his novels
Thin Men of Haddam, Country Music, and the Vestal Virgin Room. The topics ranged from
the effect of screenwriting and movie reviewing on his writing, as well as other journalism, and various aspects of the novels, including the relationships between men and women
in the books. The full interview consists of four parts.


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