CLOSING DISTANCE by Jim Oliver

CLOSING DISTANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Oliver's first novel tells the story of a not-so-young man who has to come to grips with--take a guess--mortality, as it invades his life through his mother's fight with cancer and his own fear of AIDS. Pete Flowers is a rather staid Philadelphia florist whose homosexuality is the only thing that sets him apart from his prodigiously conventional Main Line family. (Actually, there's also his wardrobe: Pete likes to dress well, and we hear a lot about layering and color-coordination when he's on the scene.) Pete's dad runs a big company that none of the children wants to take over; Pete's mom has breast cancer and becomes incoherent now and then. His sisters and brothers and in-laws are into all kinds of stuff. Everyone makes a lot of money and enjoys good restaurants and talks about sex and how they really ought to have it more often. There's so little time, see? Here's Pete on the cusp of 40, and he hasn't even come out to his mom yet--and she could die any minute now, or lose her marbles for good. Plus there's the AIDS thing: Pete's been pretty careful lately, but you never can tell--and wouldn't it be awful. But he can't work up the nerve to get tested. Eventually Pete's old boyfriend--very hot, and absolutely loaded--drops in and helps him sort things out. He breaks the news to mom and dad (they knew!), decides to join the family firm (it's what he's always wanted to do, apparently), and, at story's close, goes off for his test. We never learn the results, but at least Pete has figured out the important thing--to be true to himself and look life (and death) straight in the eye. He'll manage fine. Utterly moronic, and very likely to succeed.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1992
ISBN: 0-399-13767-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992