by Don Merritt ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 28, 1983
Another shallow foray into psychosexual obsession by the author of One Easy Piece (1981), but without the storytelling flair that gave his first novel some hints of promise. Carl Grant and his older sister Claire grow up in early-1960s Minneapolis; they're both shaken by their father's sudden early death--Carl leaning towards suicide, Claire shifting her incestuous, precocious passion for Daddy to Brother; the incest-prone siblings are further skewed by their mother's self-mutilating, anti-sexual religious fanaticism. So, when the promiscuous teenage Claire is thrown out of the house by Mother, Carl (""madly in love"" with Sis) pines alone--repressed, suicidal, Mother-dominated. Meanwhile, Claire teams up with heroin-addict Rabbit in Texas, getting hooked on the drug/commune 1960s life: one attempt at a reunion with Carl results in jealous, ugly scenes. But Claire does eventually return, distraught, to Minneapolis--after an attempted drug-deal in Mexico has gotten Rabbit murdered and Claire raped (by banditos). And when the family house burns down, killing Mother, Claire is blamed for the arson, institutionalized. . . yet then rescued by addled brother Carl, still gags over his loony/druggie/perhaps-dangerous sister. A dank fugitive-picaresque ensues--with Claire now an amphetamine addict who'll do anything to get her fix. There's some incest again--but also mutual hostility (Carl's possessive, Claire's a pain). They meet up with two of Claire's old hippie-pals in Texas, where Carl discovers drugs and non-sisterly sex (a partner-swapping session). And eventually, led by Claire's new lover, Vietnam-vet Lobo, the foursome sets off, heavily armed, to take revenge on those Mexican banditos--with a bloodbath finale that makes clear (to anyone with the slightest doubt) just how wacko Claire really is. Overdrawn, lurid, and sketchy as a psycho-socio-clinical case; fetid, crude, and flatly linear as fiction--despite the vaguely pretentious recycling of all those standbys from the 1960s down-and-dirty subculture.
Pub Date: June 28, 1983
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1983
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