Redmond, OR – Recently published and now available through Amazon, “The Wall(s)” is a fast-paced hysterically funny yet heartfelt novella that follows the life of a well-meaning couple as they approach and navigate retirement. Where do they first choose to spend their golden years? The Villages, a place the author, Dave Lutes, obviously knows well. Before becoming expats, Dave and his wife, Karen, spent three and a half years living in The Villages, “truly loving the lifestyle and not just because the rock-shaped speakers in Sumter Landing were telling us to,” laughs the author.
“Most books, movies and news stories seem to portray The Villages negatively as an artificial, politically-homogeneous, over-developed community of aging zombies,” points out Lutes. “They couldn’t be more wrong. 140,000+ people have moved to The Villages for a reason, actually thousands of reasons, which makes the place so fascinating. The only thing Villagers genuinely seem to have in common is a sense of humor and the ability to laugh about themselves and their lifestyles. That’s healthy.”
“If nightly dancing in the squares, free golf, cheap beer or floating on a noodle next to friendly neighbors in a heated pool isn’t The Fountain of Youth, I’m not sure what is,” adds Lutes. “The Villages is a retirement option that should be emulated, not criticized by writers who have never lived a day in the community.”
“The Wall(s)” is a work of fiction and certainly examines The Villages in a humorous light, but the couple depicted in the novella truly love the place and only leave Central Florida because of reasons beyond their control. However, as a literary reviewer points out on the book’s back cover, The Villages remains “America’s most prominent Shangri-la for seniors… a real-life Orwellian Disneyesque paradise that is impossible to exaggerate.” The best way to understand that analysis is to simply read the book.
Although a significant portion of the novella humorously describes it, “The Wall(s)” isn’t entirely about life within The Villages. It explores and keenly examines retirement, family dynamics, contemporary social issues and the ever-evolving relationship between the US and Mexico, where the book’s protagonists flee to for economic reasons.
Literary critic Mark Sobolik calls the “The Wall(s)”: “Hysterically funny yet heartfelt… It’s not at all what you expect. Profoundly entertaining and thought provoking.” The book is now available on Amazon both in paperback and as an e-book. A synopsis and sample can be viewed at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C128M185?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860.
Lutes forged his unique literary voice during a long career creating award-winning advertising. His writing has been called “insightful, poignant and uproariously funny.” “Those reviewers must have been on the payroll,” laughs the author. “To date, my primary impact on society has been selling people stuff they don’t really need. I suppose my book is an extension of that important tradition.”
Dave and Karen currently split their time between a home near their children in Central Oregon and in their ocean-front condo in Mazatlán, Mexico. The author writes that perhaps “the best way to truly understand America is to leave it.” The publisher notes: “As an expat writing skewering and hilarious social commentary, Lutes is following in the rich tradition of Twain, Hemingway and Faulkner, American authors with a unique perspective acquired abroad.”
Would the author and his wife ever return to The Villages? “In a heartbeat,” says Lutes. “Each time we visit our Villager friends we wonder why we ever left. But truthfully, I’m a tad compulsive when it comes to golf, thoroughly addicted to a declining skill. With 50+ courses in The Villages, I’d have no time to write. Yet that might be a good thing. Are Yuenglings still just a few bucks in the clubhouses?”
Sobolik’s review of “The Wall(s)” may put it best: “When it comes to the American dream of an early retirement in paradise, be careful what you wish for. Happiness can be a moving target.” Lutes’ heartwarming novella is filled with insightful social commentary and delightfully funny. For those who call The Villages home, it’s definitely worth reading.