THE BIG NICKEL by Calder Willingham


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The author of one good novel, several mediocre ones, and some successful screenplays (One-Eyed Jacks, The Graduate, Thieves Lite Us) has written an embarrassingly bad book that will enhance neither his wallet nor his reputation. Protagonist Richard Davenport is a young author who has trouble writing a second novel after the surprising success of the first. He feels guilt for marrying a zaftig Jewish wife who is too good for him. He feels guilt for his success, and guilt for liking success, and guilt for his talent. He feels guilt for wanting to screw a young Italian housewife who is dumb but sexy. He lives in Queens and to keep himself (and presumably us) occupied, he makes up tedious daydreams (he finds them exciting) about a nymph named Polly-dawn and a superstud black with a fifteen-inch ""whork"" who's the baddest thing in all New York. This might all have been more acceptable years ago when adultery, Freud-baiting and the ""integrity of success"" were more interesting and less obsolete.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1974
Publisher: Dial