by Felice Picano ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 1, 1981
Can a 36-year-old homosexual find happiness with an 18-year-old girl? Or will he stay with his longtime lover? That's the less-than-riveting problem posed by this glossy but fragmentary soap/romance--set on a Long Island summerhouse beachfront during the post-Labor-Day off-season. In one house lives handsome composer Jonathan Lash, working on his forthcoming Broadway musical (a highly unlikely, operatic/medieval fable) while his director-lover Dan is in London--working, partying, and ""fucking everything that moved."" In the house next door lives Stevie (Stephanie) Locke, who has come to her family's shut-up house to meditate instead of going to Smith to start her sophomore year: Stevie is recoiling from the conventional route of college, marriage, etc. So the two exchange greetings (Stevie's always been titillated by ""the lovers"" next door). Then lonely Stevie gets scared during a storm and spends the night in Jonathan's guest-room, seeing him near-naked the next morning and experiencing ""a chain reaction of little explosions that had culminated in her vagina."" And Stevie's lust grows as she watches Jonathan at work and play (Dan's two young sons visit). Jonathan, however, is unresponsive at first--though he does appreciate her ""scrumptious ass, long golden legs. . . lips that were designed for kissing and uttering soft pleas and obscenities."" And only after much stewing (""He seemed to hold few emotional correlatives about women"") does the affair get going--one of erotic delights and oh-wow emotions. (""Who but Jonathan would ask such a heavenly question, she asked herself."") But what will heavenly Jonathan do when jealous Dan returns in a rage from London and Stevie--in a noble move--flees, giving Jonathan up? Is Stevie ""only symptomatic of a larger change he was going through""? Should he leave Dan and ""give himself over to solitude, to despair""? Or should he stay, secure in Dan's love, but aware of being stuck forever in a life-groove? Unfortunately, most readers won't much care--because all the characters here are so thinly drawn. (See Joseph Hansen's A Smile in His Lifetime, p. 235, for more serious treatment of similar traumas.) And Picano's gushy, hearts-flowers-and-sex prose, though somewhat alleviated by downbeat flippancies, doesn't manage to turn this slight psychosexual episode into a full-fledged romantic novel.
Pub Date: June 1, 1981
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1981
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