THE EDGE by John V. Lindsay


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Tottering as we are here in New York from month to month ourselves, it's difficult to be well-disposed toward this further experiment in self-fulfillment by our former mayor called--how lamentably appropriate--The Edge. What might be excused, even expected from his one-time opponent for the job, William F. Buckley, now also a novelist, stings a bit coming from Mr. Lindsay. Mr. Buckley, after all, doing his figure eights at the side of the rink, was never in a position to either help us or hurt us. All of which might be entirely beside the point if Mr. Lindsay's novel were truly a stunning tour de force, dazzling us with his revelations of the political mind or even giving us his own deeply felt view of what makes the candidate run. Instead, The Edge scarcely exists on its surface though its author has evidently mastered, here and there, certain techniques in moving his story forward. His central figure is a California congressman running for re-election in the not-too-distant future when the country is in the throes of chaos, martial law has been declared, and the president is seeking special powers abrogating the Bill of Rights. The candidate, Stuart, is a man much like his author, a ""with it"" kind of person, libertarian, concerned for the underdog, unafraid to take to the streets. But he opposes the president and he has made the mistake of admitting to an affair even as his wife is out campaigning for him. There are scenes of violence in which he is roughed up, tough-talking confrontations between politicos and long stretches of exposition on the mechanics of government. Finally Stuart prevails politically--the country is turned around from an impending junta--and his admission about his personal life is taken not as folly, but as courage. We're just glad the whole thing is over. Is it fair to ask this fledgling novelist for a better than average performance? Why not? As someone in the Charlie Brown crowd once said, ""People expect more of you if you've got curly hair.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1975
Publisher: Norton