The operative word might be sleep since the author of The Second Skin and The Lime Twig -- avant garde successes of...

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DEATH, SLEEP, & THE TRAVELER

The operative word might be sleep since the author of The Second Skin and The Lime Twig -- avant garde successes of yesteryear -- has evidently opted to continue the direction taken in his last and least interesting -- prior to this -- novel, The Blood Oranges. The narrator is Allert, a middle-aged Dutchman whose wife, Ursula, is leaving him -- after forcing him to go on a solo cruise where he shares a young girl less than half his age with several of the ship's officers. In his oblique fashion, Hawkes briefly refers to the girl's disappearance, for which Allert is accused and acquitted (somewhere off the pages of this book), but the main reverie phases in on a triangle Allert and Ursula once shared with Allert's best friend Peter until the latter most unfortunately died in his sauna -- which is certainly better than shooting his brains out like one of Ursula's former lovers did -- though surely for no good reason. As is common in the author's more recent novels, the narrator speaks like a voice from the dead, from no discernible place or time, bodiless but full of an old man's sexuality which somehow manages to be obscene without being sexy; the plot is pointless; and the writing, in Hawkes' by-now familiar style, mingles past and present and dream in a way that once seemed exciting but now seems designed merely to circumvent the difficulties of narrative continuity.

Pub Date: April 19, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: New Directions

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974