Aldo ""Tramp"" Bottoms is a rock musician in the midst of an attack of the crazies and blahs. He breaks off an engagement...



Aldo ""Tramp"" Bottoms is a rock musician in the midst of an attack of the crazies and blahs. He breaks off an engagement with long-standing girlfriend Leah Summit. He goes to live in a Jersey Shore cottage adjacent to his parents' down-and-out hotel, The Last Resort. And he becomes the shuttlecock in a game of emotional badminton between his hypochondriacal mother and alcoholic father--while Tramp's old grandma, his twin sister Teresa (wheelchair-bound ever since a car accident a few years earlier), and his endearing and mischievous terrier Dennis also occupy his attention. But then, as Tramp begins to get somewhere with his music on the showcase rock-and-roll circuit, he realizes a little too late that something must be done about the hurdy-gurdy, destructive uproar in his private life. He tries making amends with Leah--but she has moved on, writing a contracted-for book in Spain. The Last Resort is sold to make way for condominiums. And, finally, Tramp's parents will split. All this, then, adds up to a very slight tale; and Sommer (Nearing's Grace, Lifelines), who has demonstrated in the past a feel for family life in extremis, now offers only cartoons, hip ripostes--with something iffily between comedy and satire as the result. Furthermore, the narrative is often arch and show-offy: ""The entire enterprise was clearly deranged, but my ambition of initiating a culture frenzy of questionable value impelled me more virulently than ever. After all, the meter was running."" And Tramp's generously reproduced rock lyrics (""We shouldn't be mean/ One to the other/ Knowing we're going/ Forever to end"") add little. Only in the triangular conversations with Tramp and his parents does Sommer's definite talent surface here. Otherwise: a seemingly lazy novel by a gifted writer, without a distinctive tone or any real forward movement.

Pub Date: March 22, 1982


Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1982