A COLLAPSIBLE MAN by Laurie Clancy


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Anyone who dips into this first novel (by an Irish-Catholic-Australian) with hopes of savoring foreign cuisine will be sorely disappointed; apparently the growing-up-horny-and-guilty-and-jokey syndrome has spread Down Under from its Catholic and Jewish strongholds in America, and there's hardly a tryst or a twit here that couldn't be lifted straight (. . . ""the Catholic equivalent of some shiksa. . ."") from the streets of New York. Or from any Sixties' campus--since most of the book, once boozy narrator Paul O'Donahue (a self-described ""living, walking, prowling sex fiend"") has abandoned Mum and the oaths of abstinence he swore to her, takes place in an academia of radical politics, sozzled parties, and frantic repartee. And women. Diana, the pneumatic teen-age campus newspaper secretary who deflowers him; proper Liz and Liz's improper, Mrs.-Robinsonian mother (""The family that fuck together are stuck together""); wholesome Jan, who loves Paul but marries stable mentor Bernard when Paul's selfish shallowness proves intractable. Shifting insecurely from overeager-to-please jollies to purple patches (""Motionlessly, it seemed, we drifted, locked insensately together, one final Sargasso"") to intimations of something really wrong (assistant prof Paul, at 27, is writing this memoir in a sanatarium), Clancy's apparently autobiographical chatter hasn't the distinctive voice--Australian-accented or otherwise--to put a new beat to the familiar tune of the boy, the bed, and the bottle.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's