THE HEAD OF ALVISE by Lina Wertmuller


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Sammy Silverman is a New York thriller writer, a millionaire from his Mickey Spillane-ish quickies. And, at the office of his publisher one day, Sammy meets the new Nobel Prize winner, poet Isaac Smith. But Smith is really Advise Ottolenghi Portaleoni, whom Sammy hasn't seen for 40 years--not since their days together in a Nazi concentration camp. Advise, always shrewd, has turned into a veritable superman: poet, Amnesty International chairman, doctor, husband of beautiful blond Dorothea, world statesman in the cause of justice and peace. And so Sammy drops his own much skimpier life in order to follow Advise around--Israel, the Vatican, Morocco. . . and to kill him, if at all possible. Why? Because Advise's perfections just make poor Sammy feel too personally goopy, insignificant, sexually upstaged. (His superego is constantly babbling at him: ""Dumb stud. You feel somewhat placated and less unhappy than before. You stupidly act like a playboy with that modest physique of yours. But Destiny, with its tacky taste for bedroom farce, is about to smack you back into squalid reality."") Sammy's murderousness never succeeds, however; Advise survives everything. And film-maker Wertmuller records the farcical attempts in hyper-thyroidal fashion, making the book a jump-shot cartoon from start to finish--an approach which might work on film but merely seems thin and silly in prose.

Pub Date: July 16th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow