Rich but chaotic novel from the author of ``The Tinieblas Trilogy'': The Prince, The Dissertation, and Mandragon. Koster offers one of those stories about a novelist writing a novel. Here, it's the science-fiction writer Carmichael, author of the internationally famous Vama, which has been travestied in movie form and is one of the sources of Carmichael's discontent. Carmichael is also famous as a curmudgeon who loses himself in the wild fantasies of his stories and, if interrupted, is likely to bite even his loyal wife Nicole. Meanwhile, he's openly unfaithful with a wide variety of women—one of the many demons that possesses him, certainly the one most in evidence, is lust—but will become tender and downright sweet when in pursuit of a new love; no woman can resist him. Then, however, Carmichael tosses one and all aside and returns to his sprawling, all but impenetrable novel, another science-fiction tale where the characters, demons also, take over the narration at times and comment on hapless Carmichael. They have names like Orcis, Hifni, Agla, or Odvart. Then there's the puppy Nicole acquires; Carmichael hates all dogs, but this one is unique, confounding the curmudgeon with its love. Koster is funny, and when he settles down can create characters in a few lines. But he offers almost no story: just wordplay and lust and observations on how hard it is to write a novel. This one in particular, perhaps. A sort of cross between J. P. Donleavy and William Burroughs: good in small doses, but likely to leave most readers in the dust.
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