THE ROMANTIC by Aram Saroyan


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From the author of Trio (1985), Last Rites: The Death of William Saroyan (1982), etc., a superficial novel of male midlife crisis, indistinguishable from innumerable others but for its singularly boorish and unlikable protagonist. In an odd 1985--people talk about paraquat and doing acid--40-year-old screenwriter James Redding is riding the success of his first project, the movie London Bridge. He's proud of having finally provided his painter wile and three children with a nice home and all the extras; he is pleased with the shape of his life. He's plagued, though, by sexual fantasies about all the women he meets (this is attributed to his resentment of the fact that all of his bosses are women). Redding says rude, inappropriate things to women and thinks he's having a crisis; like the women he says them to, the reader will think he's just a jerk. What we get, then, is a peek into the not-quite-believable life of a successful screenwriter (he doesn't do any writing), flying to Hollywood, disdainfully mingling with New York glitterati, having a brief affair with a younger woman (more a male-fantasy figure than a fleshed-out character) before a friend points him to the inevitable conclusion that what he really wants in the autumn of his life is home and family. Enough brand names--authors, products, music--for a long Stephen King novel; lots of sex, graphic and gratuitous; and a Harvard grad lead who wonders whether the letters-to-editor in Penthouse are made up.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1988
Publisher: McGraw-Hill