LOVE BONES AND WATER by Adam Zameenzad


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 From Pakistan-born Zameenzad (The Thirteenth House, 1989; Cyrus Cyrus, 1991): an ambitious mishmash of a fable that tries-- but fails--to satirize contemporary British politics and celebrate eternal themes like love, suffering, and death. When young Peter--the only son of rival politicians Eleanor and Philip--finds a hooded, castrated man with his tongue cut out on the beach in the democratic republic of New Heaven, the stage seems set for a searing Kafkaesque detour through the murky underside of politics. But this promising beginning is soon overwhelmed by campy sex and maudlin accounts of the local shantytown's painfully noble, mistreated poor, as Peter--whose goodness will obviously be his downfall--rescues the wounded man. Hidden in a mountain cave, ``the grey man'' seems to grow mysteriously younger. Soon, his presence discovered, he assumes an almost Christlike reputation among the pious locals who are being besieged by rival political parties--parties that would like to move them into better homes and turn their picturesque village into a resort. Peter's homosexual father is a member of the opposition, whose plans for the village differ only in detail from wife Eleanor's ruling party--a fact that leads to a crusade against both groups, led by local leaders and blessed by the grey man. Despite poor Peter's valiant efforts to help him and the villagers (many of whom are killed when they confront the police), politics as usual wins out--though there's a tepid affirmation of the power of love by Peter's quirky Uncle Paul, who tries more often than not to be good, and by Peter himself, irrevocably affected by all he has seen and done. Certainly imaginative and often beautifully written but ultimately to no persuasive end. Just another fable that falls flat.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1993
ISBN: 0-14-013164-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Penguin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993