Books by Simon Corrigan

SWEETS FROM STRANGERS by Simon Corrigan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1995

A skillful second novel from Corrigan (Tommy Was Here, 1993) that pokes at the seedy underside of Continental glamour. Daniel Marriner dropped out of Cambridge three years ago and moved to France, much to his parents' dismay as well as his sister Rachel's, who thus became the sole recipient of the domineering Mr. and Mrs. Marriner's unwanted critical attention. Now, back in England, Daniel's three years abroad are shrouded in mystery. At first, Daniel seems perfectly content living with the now-married Rachel and her family, holding a menial job in a hotel restaurant, and talking through the nights with Rachel about their unhappy childhood with cold, unloving parents. He is reticent about his time away, but willing to humor Rachel's romanticization of it. Still, throughout this oddly placid time there are signs of an impending disaster, proving that Daniel's past is not so easily forgotten: a strange car parked in front of Rachel's home, a man taking pictures of the house, the appearance of Daniel's unnaturally handsome French friend, Luc. With Luc's arrival, Daniel's precarious peace is first threatened and then shattered when Rachel's eldest child, Guy, disappears along with Daniel's watch. Daniel finally realizes that he can elude France no more than he can his childhood, and that perhaps he doesn't even want to. In order to insure Guy's safe return, Daniel trades his freedom for the boy's and at the same time acknowledges that his own freedom was never more than illusory. Neither the characters nor the mystery of Daniel's past is entirely fleshed out, but Corrigan's successful evocation of doom, along with his building of suspense, makes for an eerie and strangely satisfying read. Read full book review >
TOMMY WAS HERE by Simon Corrigan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1993

An English mother searches for her student son, missing in Paris—in a first novel that starts out okay but turns silly and melodramatic. Imogen Holm, alarmed by the absence of news from son Thomas, has arrived in Paris to track him down. Twenty-one-year-old Thomas has been a music student at the Conservatoire for the past two years; his future success is, for Imogen, ``the cornerstone of her faith in life''—the means by which she will redeem her own failure as an artist. This strong-willed woman has invested everything in her son by a failed first marriage, finding a rich second husband to bankroll his education while overlooking such distress signals as Thomas's suicide attempt at his private school. This is a plausible family portrait, and neat foreshadowing in view of the final plot twist; and Imogen's first encounters in Paris, with a childhood friend of Thomas's and an embittered ex-girlfriend, are good low-key suspense. It is when the trail leads to the city's gay subculture that Corrigan loses his touch, giving us a male prostitute who is a walking clichÇ and then overreaching ludicrously with Paul Delamarche—not only ``the greatest pianist in France'' but also ``the artistic conscience of his generation.'' Evidently the too beautiful Thomas had been dabbling in gay life, and his rejection of Paul has driven the great man to suicide. The bad news for Imogen is that her son has become a heartless flirt, as manipulative as his mother. Corrigan has yet to find his sea legs as a novelist, but he does have one great asset: the ability to keep a story moving. Read full book review >