A CATCH IN THE BREATH by Gene Horowitz


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Gene Horowitz' Home is Where You Start From (1966) was a cauterizing first novel about a Jewish family in particular and death in general. This, while changing its venue from upper New York State where Sibyl Barnes is born to East Adam, Rhode Island, where she spends forty years of her life divided between marriage and a widowed, adulterous situation, also projects an equally, vigilantly, restrictive social habitat while the theme hasn't changed signally. It's life lived in the tenacious definace of old age and death--""when you stop doing, you might as well be done."" And doing to some extent is equated with the stubborn display of sexual puissance, even when Sibyl is 67 and her lover Merv (and former husband's friend) is well on in his seventies. Before then--scenes with Sibyl from her pubertal preliminaries with her cousin, her pursuit of Han whom she succeeded in marrying, her postmarital visits to her berating, bedridden mother-in-law, her astrological guidance, and her determination to go on--even after Merv's death, following a heart attack provoked in bed (that ""catch in the breath"")..... Horowitz, in his unflinching fashion, is a very good writer and his novel of predatory people with an obdurate held on life has great conviction.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1967
Publisher: Norton