BOOK: "Honeymoon With My Brother," by Franz Wisner (St. Martin's Press, $22.95)
TARGET AUDIENCE: People who say, "Oh, how awful. Tell me more."
When the fiancee of Sacramento lobbyist Wisner dumps him almost literally at the altar, he is left with a broken heart -- and an extra airplane ticket. But he goes through with the honeymoon trip, substituting his brother, Kurt, for the runaway bride. It goes so well that they decide to tour the world in a series of trips together, for a total of 53 countries in two years.
Though at first understandably handicapped by his recent psychic wounding, by later chapters Wisner is focusing less on his own feelings and more on the people he meets in the streets and flop-houses. Some of his best prose comes in the form of letters to his 99-year-old step-grandmother. The rest of the text combines cultural anecdotes with buddy-movie dialogue. Brothers, it turns out, can be friends.
Wisner is given to too much introspection about yuppie-love gone bad. (Jeez, Franz, put on some Roy Orbison songs and get it out of your system.) But his main goal is to get to know Kurt better, and it's nice to watch that happening.
-- Jerry V. Haines