This is Alec Waugh's most extensive (time-wise anyway, covering half a century or so) and easiest-going novel since Island...

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THE FATAL GIFT

This is Alec Waugh's most extensive (time-wise anyway, covering half a century or so) and easiest-going novel since Island in the Sun, less splashy, and just idling along which is the wont of its central character, Raymond Peronne, whose fatal gift, Byron's words, was not only an exceptional physical beauty but being to the manner born -- the second son of a peer and the 9th holder-to-be of the title. Thus. Raymond doesn't make up his mind about a career or the women who drift in and out of his life, one wife for a time with a daughter by an earlier marriage who finds it impossible to settle permanently on the Caribbean island of Dominica (still untouched and overlooked at the close by commercial interests). She divorces him and there's the war and the death of her daughter's lover (who was by the way Raymond's nephew) and something of a surprise at the close -- why is Raymond still on Dominica? In between there are all kinds of references and an occasional real episode involving Alec who tells the story and Evelyn who appears as do many of the writers and bookmen of his time. Alec also, as you well know, is a great bibber so it's nice to have those referrals to a Beaune '37 even though this is much more like one of those coolers -- pleasant enough as such.

Pub Date: July 9, 1973

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1973