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Hemingway tells us in A Moveable Feast that a suitcase containing a bunch of his early stories was stolen from Hadley in Paris and never recovered. Now, in his 14th novel, Harris has a literary prankster ""discover"" the missing stories. Nils-Frederik Glas is a middle-aged American author who loves to fool people. His one novel, a Henry James parody, went nowhere; his revenge on the publishing world is to edit a collection of the ""suitcase"" stories (authorship unattributed, to avoid legal action by the Hemingway estate). Aided by his son Alan, a literary agent, Nils hits the jackpot: a million-dollar advance, respectful reviews, huge sales. While the experts are creating another Hitler's Diaries sensation with their arguments over the stories' authenticity, Nils is laughing all the way to the bank, at least out of one side of his face--for Nils has had a stroke, fighting with Alan for possession of (what else?) the suitcase. What adds some zip to this scenario is Harris' introduction of five ""new"" Nick Adams stories. They sparkle at strategic intervals, as Nick and the denizens of Montparnasse are set off against Nils in his shadow-world of Los Angeles, where he lives with a blind, fantasy-prone mother and a mistress who performs movie roles before sex. ""They're all characters out of Strindberg,"" says Alan's wife Lily. And possibly even more fake than the characters in the fake Hemingway stories? We are back in the familiar Harris art-versus-reality maze, made more appealing this time around by the high quality of the Adams stories and the playfulness with which Nils and company are evoked. Good literary fun.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster