Harris (Just As I Am, 1994, etc.) adds another to his oeuvre of dramatically aimless and static soap operas. Zurich Robinson...



Harris (Just As I Am, 1994, etc.) adds another to his oeuvre of dramatically aimless and static soap operas. Zurich Robinson is a handsome, earnest, mysteriously celibate young quarterback for the Chicago Cougars, an NFL expansion team; when he resists the advances of gorgeous, wine-guzzling sportscaster Mia Miller, Zurich finds himself accused of rape. The reader knows Zurich is innocent, so this central plot line has little suspense as Harris provides his hero with a suitably cardboard entourage: handsome, earnest sportswriter Sean Elliott; beautiful, earnest attorney Tamela Coleman; striking, earnest publicist Gina DeMarco. Investigating Zurich's life, Sean discovers that Zurich had a gay twin brother who died of AIDS; Zurich, in turn, opens up to Sean about this brother, but he remains confused--or is it coy?--about his own sexuality. Naturally, Sean falls for Zurich. Meanwhile: Tamela falls for Caliph, an earnest, handsome policeman; Tamela and her friends, to fill time as the plot meanders along, get together for bouts of stilted dishing; the quality of Zurich's quarterbacking wobbles as stunning, not-so-earnest wide receiver Basil Henderson tries unsuccessfully to get into his pants; and MamaCee, Zurich's grandmother, arrives unexpectedly from Mississippi to dispense grits and down-home wisdom to everyone in Chicago. At last, with the support of handsome Derrick, an ex who's come back to save her from her indistinct demons, Mia withdraws her rape charge. By the long-delayed end itself, Sean has found God, Zurich has found Sean, and several implausible characters are beaming about how wonderful love is (even the peripheral figure of Sean's sister learns to stop worrying and start dating women). In another's hands, this all-black roadshow saga might make for trashy fun, but Harris's characterizations and dialogue are too flimsily crafted to keep the reader from eying the title wistfully long before the novel chugs to an end in its welter of platitudes.

Pub Date: March 1, 1996

ISBN: 0385480318

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996