DR. ROCKSINGER AND THE AGE OF LONGING by Jill Robinson

DR. ROCKSINGER AND THE AGE OF LONGING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Margot Fox's third husband has recently left her--so she's ripe for a new involvement. And this time it turns out to be with Wayne ""Hedy"" Henderson, a rock singer quite a few years younger than Margot and a neighbor in the small Connecticut town in which she lives--along with adolescent son Dylan and adolescent daughter Brynn. For radio-personality Margot, then, Hedy is a wildly interesting change of pace; and this disappointing novel often reads like a long magazine-piece on May/August love affairs--with nearly every paragraph filled out with some small insight on love, life, generations, or independence. Indeed, never before has Robinson (Bed/Time/Story, Perdido) been so slack yet relentless in the attempt to dispense fancily worded wisdom--whether about love as battle, single-parenting, or rock music as sex: ""He is sex with his footmen, the safe-swell danger of the gang-bang by expression and sound, no touching, the distant lady's dream come true. Put this fantasy on the cassette, these faces, hands, this hair, these hipless hips, and click them on when you climb up on me and oh, do me then and then with this and this."" And even worse than such florid homiletics is the gush of Robinson's simple limning of emotion here: ""I'd run out, I'd run out on that lawn and swoop them up and roll with them, tickling them with forget-me-nots and digging my face into their chubby forms, sniffing the smells of sun under their chins, and we'd lie, and I'd have one arm tight over each of them, stay, stay, stay."" Only Margot's kids emerge from all this self-conscious prose with vividness: they're rudderless but strangely elegant, playing their mother like an instrument they've not quite mastered. (Marian Engel's recent The Year of the Child did something similar with much more aerating dash and color.) Otherwise: a nearly plot-less, drab, and stewy novel--only for Robinson devotees or those absolutely riveted by the in-love-with-a-young-rock-star premise.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1982
Publisher: Knopf