INE MADNESS by Elliot Baker
Kirkus Star


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Baker writes with a fast feather that really tickles --but it also has a sharp point. His hero, Samson Shillitoe, is a completely realized comic character. Shillitoe is a poet (and what's more, you can believe it) who supports his poetry by shampooing rugs. He hits the housewives and the office girls when their defenses are as low as their carpets and their libidos are on the upswing. is seductions are more in the vein of absent minded acquiescence on his part and do not mar his finely balanced sado-masochist relationship with Rhoda, his ltable common law wife. From a scene of high nonsense in the office of a umbling g.p., Rhoda, who needs a podiatrist, is sent by mistake to a psychiatrist. This gives Rhoda a rare idea. Shillitoe's poetry is at a standstill and she bargains with the psychiatrist to get him unblocked. The psychiatrist, incapable of dealing with Shillitoe's extra-normality, stashes Shillitoe in the institution his society supports where the poet, unblocked and safe from aindictive member of New York's vice squad, takes over. The book bounds between moments of high and low comedy, but with all the word play and visual laughter, Shillitoe is a believable talent whose escape and recapture, with the threat of psycho-surgery to carve out his creativity, induce reader-committment and the recognition of a madly possible society. Coherent chaos, it has a Rabelaisian exuberance.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1963
Publisher: Putnam