As in his so-so thrillers Operation Parterre (1982) and Last Train from Berlin (1977), publishing exec Blagowidow, once a WW...



As in his so-so thrillers Operation Parterre (1982) and Last Train from Berlin (1977), publishing exec Blagowidow, once a WW II Polish refugee, writes of a Polish ÉmigrÉ who feels the homeland's tug. But here Slavic patriotism surges not amidst political intrigue, but amidst erotic, generally humorous (and often meaningless) musings. A delightfully absurd premise gets things going by wrenching apart the tidy life of middle-aged businessman Jan Majeski: he falls hopelessly in love with a lady lion tamer whose photograph appears on a circus poster he finds in a Parisian art gallery. Instantly obsessed, he buys the poster, planning to track down the woman. At home he displays the poster to his mistress (the first of several characters Blagowidow draws too broadly even for his satirical purposes--she is a cartoonish slave of love), who vows to help Jan find his new beloved. A search via pan-media advertising turns no leads; but, for no good reason, Jan suspects the lady may be Polish, so he fantasizes about his Polish childhood pals and the women they may have loved as adults, hoping to get a sense of the lady from his reveries. These five erotic fantasies form the core of the novel: Americanized Polish emigrant has affair with Polish lady; Gestapo officer lusts after Gypsy: teen Pole is seduced by his neighbor: teen Pole seduces his teacher; and, in the funniest and best. POW Pole on the run enjoys quickie affair with Eva Braun. After these nonsensical but entertaining diversions, Blagowidow wraps things up by having Jan meet a circus scholar who points him to England. There he finds his lady, perhaps Polish once but now thoroughly English, married, and a shrew: but love conquers all: she leaves her husband for Jan. who finds peace under her thumb. Though the congenial erotica sizzles when necessary, there's little substance to this senseless fable.

Pub Date: March 27, 1987


Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987

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