HOW MUCH? by Burt Blechman


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An experimental ""novel by B. Halpern as told to Burt Blechman"" is essentially a comment on the American madhouse, styled after William Burroughs' now legendary The Naked Lunch (without the flaming sex and wild inspiration), and modeling some of its characters after Edward Albee and onesco. The experimental nature of such a novel is most interesting at the start- inter the whole business wears thin and what started out as a promising caprice winds up a solid drag. There is no plot, only a succession of scenes centering on the Halpern family, their friends, neighbors, and the city of New York through which they wander with aplomb. The ""hero"", or author's spokesman, and/or alter ego, is a young man called Bernie who symbolizes the Salinger dreamer of the day in search of the self. It is also a satire on old age, American business, psychiatry, hospitals, politics, war- and peace, materialism and a good many other things. But all in all, it is too much of an endurance test of an obviously young writer's avant-garde prowess.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1961
Publisher: Ivan Obolensky