WINTERMUTE by Christopher Brookhnuse


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Like one of those many imitation-Diabolique movies that wallowed meaningfully in the murkily mysterious, the semi-symbolic, and the decadent-erotic, Brookhouse's pretentious session of psycho-games takes place in a creepy, roomy, isolated mansion. This Vermont abode belongs to kinky millionaire Sy Brinton, who's hosting a 25th reunion--and using the occasion to do weird numbers on his old college classmates, all of whom need his financial assistance. Politician Richard Matthews (needs $ for campaign) is seduced, filmed in flagrante delicto, and generally humiliated; Richard's estranged wife Arra (needs $ to start new life) is ordered to help kill one of Sy's enemies; blowsy ex-cheerleader, ex-porno actress Janice (needs $ for gambling debts) must sleep with Arra. We also learn Sy's various secrets (not the old Negro blood bit?! Yasssuh!) and find out that Sy's Igorlike, gargoyle-faced valet is Janice's husband, who didn't die in Korea after all. And so it goes. . . and goes. A short book that, though sometimes nicely voiced, seems unconscionably long--just like Brookhouse's Running Out (1970).

Pub Date: March 15th, 1978
Publisher: Dutton