THE LAST RITE OF HUGO T. by J.N. Catanach

THE LAST RITE OF HUGO T.

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hugo T., an aging Polish ÉmigrÉ contemplating suicide in New York, is thwarted from diving off the George Washington Bridge by his new neighbor Elie and her friend, the Baron, who whisk him off to Paris, where they want him to impersonate his long-estranged brother--a former communist but now a parish priest deeply involved in the Solidarity movement, and in France to attend a religious conference. When Hugo next wakes up, he--identified as his brother--is a European scandal: a priest who supposedly suffered a stroke while dallying with a male prostitute. Escaping the Baron and the Central European secret forces he seems to be working for, as well as his early memories of his terrorist brother and his own unwitting career as a spy-informer, Hugo, penniless, manages to return to New York--where, in a final confrontation with the ubiquitous Baron aboard the Staten Island ferry, he gets what he's been longing for.... Slow going--and the intercutting of Hugo's current predicament with his past, while bringing the then palpably alive, makes the now seem forced and phony. As with White Is the Color of Death (1988), a bleak view of warring men, switched allegiances, and terror, told ever so seriously.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's