THE IMMORTALS by Michael Korda


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 Sweeping love story of Marilyn Monroe's long-standing affairs with Senator, then President, Kennedy and brother Bobby. That Marilyn and JFK might someday be worthy of the high treatment given by Wild Bill Shakespeare to Antony and Cleopatra remains a teaser for playwrights and novelists. But in his latest (already slated for filming as well as heavy marketing), Korda- -Queenie, Curtain, etc.--sets his sights much lower than great tragedy and gives us a work of strong intelligence and ravishing vulgarity. Almost no event in it is unfamiliar, though its great garden of sex-play springs largely from imagination. Many readers will be dismayed by Korda's pillow talk among the gods, sex chat given a saltiness that may fit the actual MM & JFK but that looks cheap on paper. The story: MM, married to DiMaggio, meets Senator Kennedy at a Beverly Hills party; he gives her his card; they rendezvous. Marilyn is bored by her husbands and treats adultery like a midnight plum duff. She loves Jack, Jack loves MM. He has an arrangement with Jackie that his satyriasis need not be contained but must remain discreet; MM's being the most famous woman in the world, however, crimps JFK's ties with jealous Jackie, who finds out about the ongoing affair. Meanwhile, RFK attacks the Teamsters hierarchy, Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa, and Jimmy in turn bugs Peter Lawford's love-tryst bungalow, various hotel rooms, and MM's phone and bedroom, all of which are already bugged by J.Edgar Hoover's FBI team. Once JFK is president, he withdraws from MM. RFK becomes her lover, gets her with child. MM's meds take their toll, she becomes ever more erratic, puts unbearable strain on the Brothers K when she announces a tell-all press conference.... About midway, when the freshness of the lovers wanes and a certain sourness overtakes them, the story darkens and the mechanics of the many- leveled plot deflates the reader's gusto, though not Korda's. Many brilliant scenes, but not as artful or haunting as Sam Toperoff's 1991 MM novel, Queen of Desire. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for November)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-671-74526-3
Page count: 560pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1992


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