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Waltzing with sardines is more like it: an obscure, pointless little novel about an English village filled with grotesque people and strange goings-on, from the author of The Sandman (1985). The tiny town of Ram's Horn in Dorset could be picked up whole and placed down in Times Square--and the self. obsessed denizens of neither place would blink an eye. Ram's Horn has a seer (Mrs. Clancy) who searches for her dead husband in her crystal ball and finds only demons and devils; a lusty landlady (Mrs. Reynolds) who takes in a wandering black sailor whose potent sexuality enchants and frightens both her and her daughter; a lonely doctor (Dr. Douglas) so in love with Mrs. Clancy that he slips her an aphrodisiac mickey prepared by a herbalist; and a gang of young boys whose sole mission in life is to look up the skirts of one of their mothers (adolescent sexuality ad nauseam: ""Yes. And there was more. He had seen the little beards of hair in Mrs. Lapwing's armpits""). What passes for a plot concerns the ""kidnapping"" of Mrs. Reynolds' daughter, Polly, by the black sailor--except that, in fact, Polly and one of the local boys have run off together. But Dr. Douglas' aphrodisiac works, and eventually he replaces Mr. Clancy in bed. And there's also a flying-saucer scare. Meant as a kind of enchanting modern fairy-tale/parable, this is really just a lot of damply erotic mucking about.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1986
Publisher: Dutton