ALMOST PARADISE by Luis Spota

ALMOST PARADISE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Superficially, this is a reasonably competent and entertaining story of a poor Italian boy, whose mother was a prostitute, and who very nearly becomes a success by masquerading as an Italian prince. The story-line moves along briskly on two levels, alternating between Prince Ugo Conti, on the yacht of a rich old woman he is trying to marry, and poor young Amadeo trying to make his way in a world of thieves and prostitutes. The two are (obviously) one, as is revealed later, when Ugo has ditched the rich woman, whose money has proved to be in the control of her sons, and is being wined, dined and sought after by wealthy Mexican society. He is about to marry a fabulously wealthy young girl when he is unmasked and deported. The story has some appeal, but the characters are unattractive (Conti is too flaccid, a gigolo, not a darling adventurer), and the book calls for more wit and irony. Mr. Spota's thesis appears to be that the rich are so awed by nobility, and so rotten in themselves, that they will accept any title without question. He overdoes it. However, the apparent sophistication of the story, and its setting, may intrigue a certain clientele.

Publisher: Doubleday