John Leonard's second novel is fully as sharp as his first-- The Naked Martini (1964) even if it has a certain amount of...

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WYKE REGIS

John Leonard's second novel is fully as sharp as his first-- The Naked Martini (1964) even if it has a certain amount of trouble in getting in motion. (Plot is not his forte.) It is a hip confrontation of issues, ideas, characters and the sexes. Leonard is a little like Bellow: he's a great conversationalist--he can talk about anything, action painting, sex, vectors, what have you; he is also a particularizer and the appearances and appurtenances (whether of milieus or people) are abrasively detailed; and again he is given to stimulating summations--ibid--""history"" is like ""an old cave, cluttered with bones, apologies, promulgations, bundles of yellowing newspapers, useless immutabilities."" Herewith you have the style and to some extent the essence of the book which opposes a fascist, Harcourt, and his American Century magazine, against a liberal, Mike Culhane, who represents PAX, a Boston radio station. PAX is also a ""harmless refuge for iconoclasts...cranks and ex-apparatchiks"" and when Harcourt, and his satellite writer, accuse one of the PAX members of card-carrying, it leads to a subpoena and a Washington investigation. Then there's the trial in Wyke Rogis (a town in New Hampshire) in which a boy's school headmaster is charged with homosexuality, involving Harcourt's son. And finally there's the on and off affair between Culhane and Susan, also, happenstantially, from Wyke Regis... Leonard's book, as demanding as it is entertaining, is written with an incisive intelligence and it reads with style.

Pub Date: March 28, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1966