ALL THE NAKED HEROES by Alan Kapelner

ALL THE NAKED HEROES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The most disturbing and unforgivable element in this first novel is the fact that although the setting is supposedly the thirties in America the situations and characters belong to the Beat Generation. This is more than distracting; it invalidates the book. It may be argued that the Beat Generation has been around for a good while lacking a label, but their characteristic jargon and forms of address is decidedly something new. This tortured narrative which freely borrows in ""style"" from Hemingway, the kaleidoscopic U.S.A. and the Beat writers, begins in 1930 with the death of Anita Gomery. Her sons Paul and Ripley begin their journeys in search of themselves, oddly enough, in Greenwich Village. Rip abandons New York for a freight-hopping flight across the country and Paul, a Cornell boy who has developed a personal antagonism toward Hitler, discovers the ""pot set"". While Rip is writing impressions of his progress to Mary Hathaway, Paul's old girl friend who works at Time, Paul becomes a male whore, then goes on the bum. At last in 1940 the Draft arouses the somnambulist Paul: he writes a letter of conscientious objection to the President, never mails it, seeks a refuge in gin, and that falling, kills himself. Rip returns to New York, to Mary, to the war and to a literary career. There seems to be very little in this desperately earnest but pathetically inept book which justifies its publication as a novel.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1959
Publisher: Braziller