THE VOYEUR by Alberto Moravia

THE VOYEUR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wonderful first chapter builds hope that this may be the best Moravia in some time: a meek Roman professor of French describes his day, mostly revolving around his powerful father, also a professor and now temporarily disabled after an accident, in whose home the son and son's wife live. The professor son, nicknamed (with much accuracy) Dodo, hates the father but is also in awe of him--especially for his great sexual prowess, a potency that echoes through every other sphere of power the father enters. Meanwhile, Dodo knows that wife Silvia has a lover, is miserable living in their alloted two rooms in the father's house, and finally will ask for a separation. This has some of the itchy comedy of resentful embarrassment of Svevo's Zeno--but then, alas, Moravia mucks it up. . .and in the way that Moravia has for quite a while now damaged his books: by putting an abstract template over it, by introducing a large, sweating, unnecessary cosmic metaphor. Dodo's father is a professor of physics, so naturally (?) the son worries (apart from his suspicions about which very close-by male might be Silvia's lover) about nuclear war, the end of the world. This leads him (?) into Polaroid-taking, sex-having engagements with a black African woman he meets on the street--erotic voyeurism, you see, being a cognate to the voyeurism of science watching reality. Far-fetched, unconvincing, a sort of extrinsic skin over the book, it gives the sense once more that Moravia has felt the need to dress up his senior erotomania with ""serious"" themes that fool no one.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1987
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux