GOODBYE, ROSIE by James Lowell McPherson


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The narrator of this dazzling display of verbal facility is one Harvey Swithin d' Art (Dart) who returns to his hometown of Thebes in upstate New York as a fund-raiser for the university. With him he brings his European friend and perpetual student, Janko, who will woo and wed Harvey's half-aunt, Margaret, with whom Harvey has always been at least half in love. This betrayal and the fact that Harvey has almost no chin leads him into various compensations. There is, first of all, the necessity to explain the circumstances wherein his father and mother separated when he was eleven. His father is a physical anthropologist turned geneticist and his mother, a kind of handmaiden to the arts, has married again. Harvey is bequeathed by Margaret to her friend Naomi with whom he has an affair though he also manages to seduce the wife of the original seducer of Margaret. Finally Harvey is the instrument through which a large gift is made to the university in honor of Harvey's maternal grandfather by his one-time adversary. All of these nebulous involvements prove too much for him and his last state (a presumably emotional breakdown) is considerably worse than his first. Goodbye, Rosie is a feat of virtuosity and lures the reader with its surface brilliance. But the aftermath is about as satisfying as a Chinese dinner.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1965
Publisher: Knopf