KING OF THE ROAD by Paul Hemphill (Houghton Mifflin: $18.95; 296 pp.)

"More than anything, this novel is a labor of love, of the admiration of a son for his father, which is probably not such a common thing these days. . . . But the story also fulfills its original premise--that of the Dylan Thomas poem--and it is uplifting to see the triumph of old Jake Hawkins, raging successfully against 'the dying of the light.' "

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