PURLOINING TINY by John Franklin Bardin


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For his first novel since 1954, Bardin lavishes his considerable narrative talents on a luringly fanciful but ultimately rather crude sliver of psychopathology. Harry Barratt, crime-syndicate biggie, has finally tracked down the daughter he lost when his prostitute-wife deserted him twenty years ago. Daughter ""Tiny"" is now a gorgeous but repressed Manhattaner, seeing a psychiatrist but still dominated by her widowed stepfather, with whom she does a popular contortionist-magician act, ""The Rack and the Maiden."" Crazy Harry abducts Tiny and imprisons her in an all-white luxury suite (one story above her own apartment), determined to purify her and recreate the little girl he lost. In desperate attempts to escape, Tiny rapes Harry and sleeps with his black girlfriend (angry Harry tosses said girlfriend out the hi-rise window), but Tiny's doom--and Harry's--is a foregone conclusion. Despite dark-with-meaning references to ""ambivalence"" and such, no coherent theme emerges to give elegant shape to this stylish mishmash of incest and evil and grand guignol. But stylish it is--teasing, artful, and chic right through to the utterly unsatisfying end.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row