RUSH TO NOWHERE by Howard Lewis Russell


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A rather contrived and sketchy first novel about the Manhattan adventures of a struggling Southern writer who is saved from grubby obscurity when a gorgeous actress offers him a chance to make great art. Dancer's life in New York seems ruled by mischievous fate. As the Alabama lad waits for the subway home to his Brooklyn tenement, a homicidal Black Muslim tries to push him onto the tracks. But as the maniac plunges, Dancer stoops to pick up a gold chain dropped by a woman bystander, who tumbles to her death in his stead. Subway service stops, so Dancer ends up languishing at the fountain by the Plaza--where he meets beautiful Ann Monet, a tarnished star seeking a comeback. Monet prepares to drift back to the hotel, but a scabrous rock-star named Turk appears, and she hides by pulling Dancer into a lover's clinch. A romantic night ensues, during which Monet explains that she has to humor Turk because he's gotten her a starring role in a movie. The next day, Dancer goes back to his non-job at an advertising agency, and back to the roach-ridden apartment he shares with a drag dealer named Zinc. Days pass with no word from Monet, so Dancer flies to Alabama to borrow rent money (he was fleeced by a gypsy in the Village). His alcoholic father turns him down, reviling Dancer's dreams of literary glory. Just when Dancer thinks things can't get any worse--his mother has just revealed the dark secret of his father's wealth, and Zinc has phoned, sobbing, that he's been arrested--Ann Monet calls to summon Dancer to London for Turk's funeral (dead of reckless living). With Turk gone, Monet loses the movie, but Dancer wins the screenwriting job of a lifetime. A rickety exercise in wish fulfillment, as empty and charmless as the hip stick-figures it describes.

Pub Date: May 18th, 1988
Publisher: Donald Fine