THE BROKEN PLACES by Joseph P. Dionne


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Dionne's overheated novel reopens the question of whether or not you can go home again, and even attaches some riders -- is it still home after three generations? and what do you do when you get there? All matters of the highest seriousness, as evident from the weltschmerzy tone, but more grating than gripping in the narrative of young Justin St. Clair, a midwestern boy who identifies rather petulantly with his French forebears. Like his father, he ""returns"" with the U.S. Army, ostensibly to supply a stone angel for his father's grave but also to escape an inferior being named Susan who reads Photoplay by day and by night lies beside him ""like a turnip."" There he discovers his sexual heritage in the, person of Chantelle whose breasts seem to wander about of their own accord but whose face is even blanker than the motown singer she suggests. Passion and duty, and consequent impromptu robberies get him deported from paradise and nearly consign him to Susan. . . but he escapes to Canada enriched with such menrorable sentiments as ""If there was snow, darling, we could piss in it. Together."" Relate to that and you may be able to read this.

Pub Date: May 10th, 1972
Publisher: Harper & Row