He lived in a grey shadowy street in Vienna two flights up behind four dirt stained never-opened windows."" And the first...

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THE SADDEST SUMMER OF SAMUEL S

He lived in a grey shadowy street in Vienna two flights up behind four dirt stained never-opened windows."" And the first thing you're told about is his bathroom and before the long short story is over, you know much more than anybody could possibly care to about his kidneys and bowels. They function, but he doesn't. The would-be cavalier is impotent in Vienna, taking analysis at its source. His psychiatric sessions preserve the author's reputation as a satirist/stylist. But, his short-circuited sex scenes have only shock value and seem pretentiously symbolic. The overage European women dance nude in practiced decadence before him but always out of reach, while the foul-mouthed American girl reduces intercourse to a Messalina-like brutality in her mechanistic aggression. The sad scatological joke ends with Samuel's death, crushed by a train just at the moment he starts seeing things clearly. Donleavy's prose has all the hurtling thrust of that locomotive, but this time, the engineer's hand is too heavy on the throttle and the tracks of this theme have been travelled far too often.

Pub Date: March 16, 1966

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1966