NORMAN'S LETTER by Gavin Lambert


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Norman's letter, to an Arab youth Ahmin, is written in lavender ink with a quill pen and its signature refers to Norman Charles Evelyn Lightwood, eleventh baronet, a young man of doubtful rights to the title, to the gender, and above all to the identity for which he searches all around the world. Part of him is bifurcated into an alter ego, a Greek-Egyptian poetess whom he is translating. Beginning with his humiliating seductioad-absurdum by his bride who shortly sues him, his intercession in the escape from England of Violet, his sister, branded as a war criminal, one follows in a rather dazed, glazed fashion Norman's international pilgrimage, to his death in Vera Cruz. Lambert, whose satire runs to egregious eccentricity, introduces all sorts of strange connections, makes all kinds of mystical-aesthetic references during the course of poor Norman's ""sublime groping,"" and reveals a magpie eye for brilliant bric a brac (he is a decorator of sorts and the book is as cluttered as a flea market). The flamboyant talent is there (remember Daisy Clover- 1963) but it certainly is in search of a subject and perhaps an audience in spite of major house enthusiasm.

Pub Date: July 25th, 1966
Publisher: Coward-McCann