LABAN'S WILL by Albert Lebowitz


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This is a sort of labyrinthine mystery story--with Oedipal and other mythic frequencies--whose key is motivation: the ""why"" of William Laban, brilliant, wealthy lawyer, antic actor, and capricious patriarch whose presence is experienced mightily by his three children and his young second wife. There are the twins, Leah and Rachel, Who would willingly exchange kidneys but cannot communicate at all. Leah admires her father ""without reservation."" Laban claims ""one of her parts got lost""; she is indeed unfinished and in her loveless marriage remains faithful to her father in spirit. The wise and Completely sane Rachel withholds Judgment, frozen into suspended cerebration by Laban's mercurial behavior; ""It Just wasn't enough to be indignant, but Rachel didn't know where to go from there."" Was her father a ""sick comic""? A cruel, unloving man? Was he wiser than anyone knew, or merely insane? The son, Bernie, is brutally and abusively indignant, furious at his father's too early remarriage, frustrated by Laban's impassiveness: ""All he does is make life a big Joke. He thinks it's a laugh riot that his daughter washes dishes while his sexy' new wife polishes her fingernails."" ...Lebowitz's resolution, which shall not be revealed here, is both key to and exoneration for Laban. It will infuriate some, but no matter. He has written a brilliant mad scene, a hugely comic Civil Rights counter encounter, and an authentically radical, if somewhat too pat, psychological study. But for a first novel, that is more than sufficient.

Publisher: Random House