CARNIVAL DESIRES by Mark Lindquist


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This time out, second-novelist Lindquist (Sad Movies, 1987) follows a group of friends through the Hollywood movie scene: the author has a good ear for dialogue, but his McInerney/Ellis/Janowitz clone, full of endless deal-making and dissipation, soon wears thin. Bick is a thirtysomething screenwriter who's thinking about leaving the scene, retiring after sex with too many ""club sluts"" and endless party-going The other principals include: Oscar, a director whose smash debut, ""a low-budget independent about high-school,"" has led nowhere; Mona, whose integrity and brilliance (she ""had been the first to realize Woody Alien's Zelig was stolen from a 'Brady Bunch' episode"") keep her out of work; Willie, who lives with Merri but devotes himself to booze, drags, and sex; and Merri, who wants to grow up. On New Year's Eve, these motley characters all make resolutions--the predictable stuff--and the story traces their attempts to go straight. By the close, when they meet to see who's been successful, we've seen Bick vacillate about retiring and try to have sex (he can't get his condom to work); Willie and Merri attempt to buy a house before the inevitable binge; and so forth. After endless conversations about ""celebrities and channeling and earthquakes and AIDS,"" it's marriage for Willie and Merri, but the novel's big question remains unanswered: "". . .do guys have to keep sex and love separate or can they put both together?"" Juvenilia: the bite-sized chapters highlight an occasional funny line, but this is mealy sitcom stuff when placed beside more trenchant treatments of the business, such as Robert Stone's Children of Light.

Pub Date: June 12th, 1990
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly--dist. by Little, Brown