A SOUND LIKE LAUGHTER by David Helwig

A SOUND LIKE LAUGHTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like It Is Always Summer (1982), this short novel features sexual tensions among some rather dreary folks in the university-town of Kingston, Ontario; and again the effects are more contrived and literarily balanced than lifelike. Marianne Jones is a university administrator, a divorced mother who feels fat and old--and is determined not to lose lover Ernest, a wimpy voice teacher at the university. So, when Ernest seems unlikely to get tenure, Marianne resorts to blackmail: ever-so-conveniently, she has just caught young Terry Shouldice, college-clinic shrink, flagrante delicto with student-patient Anne Clarkson (Marianne's babysitter); Terry's father just happens to be Dean of Arts; Ernest gets tenure, he and Marianne get married. Meanwhile, however, young Anne--a father-fixated sort with orgasm problems--is finding sexual excitement at last with a desperate loser named (crudely) Michael Remmnant; they rob Marianne's house, get involved with local drug--dealing; Michael, claiming to have extensive drug-trade knowledge, offers his services to university-press manager Robert Mallen (a major character in It Is Always Summer), who's researching the subject. And, in a final night of over-neat partner-switching, Marianne seeks out Mallen (whom she loves) and winds up with Michael. . . while Ernest, disappointed in all things, turns to babysitter Anne, a would-be law student who's now terrified that her criminal doings with Michael will ruin her plans. With little of the wit and sensuality that occasionally brought It Is Always Summer to life: competent, dullish fiction from academia.

Pub Date: July 11th, 1983
Publisher: Beaufort