THE EVERLASTING by Leonard Bishop

THE EVERLASTING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title tells it all: this is a woolly-minded novel about reincarnation, and it does indeed seem to last forever--as shnooky narrator Stephen Jerod tells how the same Lilith-female manages to destroy his life over and over again through the epochs. In the 20th century, narrator Stephen is a Catholic ex-priest--and he's on trial for strangling his beauteous, sensual, cruel lover Shara Medford. But as the trial slogs slowly by, in talky detail, Stephen regularly flashes back to two previous incarnations: in the days of the Borgias he is humpbacked physician Barthelamo Vecchio, whose passion for a virginal wench named Letitia will drive him to jealous violence when his beloved is corrupted by the lecherous Borgia siblings; and in pre-historic times, he is ""the Albino,"" who similarly self-destructs as he tries to rescue the ""captive woman"" from the tribe's human-sacrifice rites. Can this reincarnative past be used as a defense in the murder trial? Ambitious Martin Lormer believes it can--if he can prove (without much help from zombie-esque Stephen) that victim Shara really was a Satanic Lilith who purposely provoked Stephen to murder. Thus, some lurid details of the Stephen/Shara affair emerge (a kinky threesome with Shara's black girlfriend); we learn of Stephen's lifelong awareness of his Shara-fate, his suicide attempt, his fight against Satan's idea of reincarnation (""Take your supernatural filth and stuff it back up your ass""). And Lormer presents evidence of Shara's supernatural-ness: her bizarre blood-type; her previous incarnations; the fact that a 2500-year-old fetus was removed from her womb during the autopsy. Finally, then, Stephen is acquitted--as the reincarnation hooey gets mixed up with some old occult clichÉs. . . and poor Stephen heads off to go through the whole thing again with some new Shara reincarnation. Silly, verbose, and wearisomely shrill, with lots of unintentional laugh-lines (""I did not want her orifices. I wanted her womanhood""); only readers who enjoy noisy pseudo-theology and courtroom chatter and devil-woman lustings will want to do more than browse and chuckle.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1982
Publisher: Poseidon/Pocket Books--dist. by Simon & Schuster