CHIN MUSIC by James McManus


Email this review


Who looks forward to the end of the world? Especially by nuclear fission? And what is McManus (Out of the Blue, a first novel about child kidnapping) doing in this field? As the Third World War opens in Chicago, southpaw Ray Zajak (Ray ""Rabbit""), guided by Guardian Angel, or Athena of the Latter Day Saints, so to speak, winds a mad way through the socio-sexual labyrinth that leads finally to 1367 North State Street, his home. Violinist wife also has had her adventures, if you can call them that. Junior Jesse, a budding Little Leaguer, can't duck the call either--Maggie, tomboy captain of the other side, seals his fate with a Mwah! kiss. What's Zajak looking for on this ultimate, impassioned quest? Why is his wife, a.k.a. Teresa, always spurning or physically repelling guys who make passes? What does Jesse see in Maggie? Our author supplies no answers, preferring that the reader enjoy what the blurb-writer calls ""incendiary language,"" of which the following is a fair sample: ""JFK reappears. Just long enough for one speech. Very short. There's something he wants to clear up. He coughs up some blood, clears what is left of his throat. 'I am not, strictly speaking, a doughnut,' he gargles. And then, in a rose-colored shimmering flash, off he fucks."" Irritating to the point of offensive is the author's uncontrolled habit of writing in unrhymed anapests, often with a hypercatalectic ending: ""while she licks your slick prick, but foremost and finally to fuck her so long and so hard as to tear her a spanking new asshole."" A grave theme will bear a light treatment--what farce, for example, was made of terrorism in Bely's Petersburg. But in this book, comedy reaches no heightened aim, and you come away feeling that even war is not worth taking seriously.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1985
Publisher: Crown