LAMPSHADES by Carole Morin

LAMPSHADES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The British columnist and memoirist (Dead Glamorous, 1997) cobbles together a kind of female, ’90s, Scottish-nihilist version of Catcher In the Rye featuring a fascist teenager who wanders London’s streets seeking out her true nature by shacking up with a fat old man, thinking mean thoughts about her mother, and pursuing the serial killer she loves. A big difference is that this heroine is stupid, racist, and unsympathetic—and the plot goes nowhere. Sophira van Ness is an unhappy 16-year-old: she hates her mother, who sold the family’s beloved mansion to its owner’s former maid; she hates filth, which she fights off with several showers a day and heavy doses of disinfectant; and she hates her life, stuck in Glasgow with no one to talk to but her imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, who she believes watches over her. Alienated from the human race since her brother’s death when they were children, Sophira apathetically accepts an invitation to share a bunk with a hanger-on at Balmoral Castle until they can cadge a ride to London. Unfortunately, Sophira hates London, too, with its filthy bathrooms and distasteful mix of races and social classes. Also, she has no money—but this problem is solved when Jack Grey, “schoolboy assassin aspiring actor and billionaire,” invites her to share his hotel room while he spends his night—apparently—murdering women. When Jack disappears for good, Sophira finds another sponsor in Count Saadi, a Jewish concentration camp survivor who’s producing a film about Hitler. The Count puts her up in his luxurious apartment, asking only for one chaste kiss a day, until Sophira realizes to her horror that she’s falling in love with him. Fleeing back to Glasgow, she learns that the maid who owned the mansion has died and the house has been sold again—to none other than Jack Grey, who, as star of a new film about Hitler’s life, now fully embodies Sophira’s ideal. Adolescent nastiness, pointless provocation, and empty attitude, whipped together into a muddy mix.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-87951-857-X
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1998