THE NUDISTS by Guy Bellamy


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Accomplished British humorist Bellamy (The Sinner's Congregation, 1984; The Secret Lemonade Drinker, 1977) turns in yet another slick, breezy sexual farce--this time about a group of Londoners looking for love and money, almost certainly not in that order. First, there are newlyweds Simon and Wendy Venables: she's a brisk, all-business type who runs an upscale sandwich shop called Morsels; he's a hapless toy-company functionary about to lose his job. Then we have brash young advertising millionaire Ben Brock and his luscious wife, Pym. Finally, there's tall, dark, and neurotic Nick Bannerman, a poverty-stricken writer churning out an opus (to be called Battered Husbands) that will set women's lib on its ear. Put them all together and you've got a naughty, slapsticky English bedroom comedy. The five friends take a vacation in Spain, where they shed their inhibitions along with their clothes; Nick seduces Wendy by the swimming pool, while poor Simon unsuccessfully pursues buxom Pym on a beach surrounded by bullet-headed German tourists. Back in London, Nick's book is a sudden and amazing success (television talk shows, a big American sale), and the women who don't want to castrate him want to leap into his bed. But then Simon discovers that Wendy is pregnant by Nick; and his odd idea of retribution is to attempt one more seduction of Pym. Unfortunately, while she's fending off Simon, her three-year-old son drowns in the swimming pool. The tragedy sobers up everyone: Simon and Wendy (who has miscarried) reconcile, Ben and Pym start a new life, and Nick finds tree love with a youthful flame who has rediscovered him through his book. A somewhat jarring ending, but a wry, highly enjoyable outing overall.

Pub Date: June 10th, 1987
Publisher: Beaufort