A MAN TO CONJURE WITH by Jonathan Baumbach
Kirkus Star

A MAN TO CONJURE WITH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jonathan Baumbach wrote the Landscape of Nightmare and here too there are nightmares, and dreams which become disconsolate realities, many of them with the incantatory power suggested by the title. Peter Becket is forty and ""in the wars of his life"" he has been ""continuously and decisively defeated..."" Now again in New York, he looks up Lois whom he had once married and has not seen in about fifteen years. Doors open and close. The past drifts in and out: Lois whom he had loved, incompletely, and left, intermittently, and then for good after an abortion; Jobs that he had taken and flubbed; the visits to a Dr. Cantor, benevolent, bored; the loveless erotic desires for other girls; and the moment of clarity which seems to be a commitment (is it really?) to all those attachments, obligations avoided... Another rabbit running--the theme, yes, the technique, no--but it's that same metaphysical climate of fear, of flight, of failure. It's strictly contemporary, and so is the anti-heroic stance without any showoffmanship about it. There's talent on every page and it all seems sad sand sharp and very much alive.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1965
Publisher: Random House; New York Univ. Press-1965