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 The follow-up to Savan's offbeat debut, White Palace (1987), is an ungainly, overcooked pot of mush--a love triangle between a manic-depressive, an arthritic cripple, and a Jewish beauty desperate to be needed. Arnie Goldman has been wheelchair-bound and on crutches since the age of eight, but he still manages to establish himself as a keen gemstone dealer whose acumen brings international recognition. Resigned to rocks instead of romance, he suddenly finds his well- ordered world turned upside down when his best friend, Redso, reenters his life after having exited drama school under a cloud. Bringing his lusty, shoulder-swinging female costar Billy with him, Redso sets up house in Arnie's basement so that he can write the great American play about growing up in the Midwest, except that his new manic behavior soon causes rifts in the friendship. Arnie escapes to Wales and enhances his reputation while Redso self- destructs back home, being institutionalized several times and finally receiving shock therapy. Billy stands by her man faithfully after Arnie's return; but when Redso drives off leaving Arnie stranded in a blizzard, she changes her tune and proposes to her lovelorn arthritic. Redso appears out of the blue at the reception only to vanish again, but the marriage goes bad anyway because of Arnie's miraculous recovery. The madman returns finally as a dull semblance of his former self--at which Billy loses all hope of being needed by either of the two and leaves them to ruminate together on the vagaries of life. Handicapped by dramatic deficiencies, overburdened by banal details of love and longing, insubstantial and inconclusive.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-42607-0
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1993