TRAVESTY by John Hawkes


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Sex and Death. Eros and Thanatos. Or, as the narrator of this dreamy monologue disguised as a novel has redefined his obsession, design and debris. This murder-cum-suicidal death trip in a slick sport touring car traveling at 149 kilometers per hour on a country road in the darkest quarter of the night covers one hour and 40 minutes to the crack-up finale when ""I make you this promise, Henri: there shall be no survivors. None."" Henri, a highly regarded poet of the ""mythos of cruel detachment,"" also has the bad judgment to be the lover of both the nameless narrator's wife and his post-pubescent daughter. He, as well as Hawkes' dedicated reader, will be interested in the deduction of the driver's motive. It's only jealousy, Henri finally concludes. Mais non, responds his cher ami. Au contraire. C'est simplement la justice poetique. Despite the arousing insets and the lushly ripe melon-smellonous prose, the story evolves somewhat too simplistically to even suggest the talents of this foremost practitioner of avant-garde fiction. It all seems to be taking place in an overconceptualized vacuum. Hawkes can do better.

Pub Date: March 11th, 1976
ISBN: 0811206408
Publisher: New Directions