FIGURE 8 by Mark Dintenfass


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Michael Silversmith, guess what profession, perfectionist, sufferer, dreamer of unattainable shapes, carries on Cellini's craft in his steaming hole on New York's upper West Side. One absent-minded day he is knocked off his bicycle -- arm broken and career interrupted -- by the very same Geoffrey Holzman (now Elliot Hopper) who had borrowed his wife Angela during Silversmith's vacation one summer in France and subsequently destroyed Silversmith's marriage. For revenge and to ease his loneliness, the geek-like Silversmith gets into an improbable affair with Hopper's beautiful young daughter, who seems to spend her life trying to correct the social atrocities of her father. Meanwhile Hopper, now poet-in-residence at a Connecticut seashore college (i.e. Yale) starts up again with Angela who is coincidentally working at the same school, mainly to torment Silversmith when he and the daughter appear for the kind of nightmarish weekend found only in novels of this sort. The remainder of the book is a series of epiphanies revolving around whether Silversmith will murder Hopper. Despite the melodrama and a kind of resigned Jewish theorizing, this is a passably interesting story -- against all odds.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Simon & Schuster