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 Octogenarian West (The Lovers, 1993, etc.) shows that his veins still run with fictive silver as he returns to the problems of manic-depression he limned in his 1983 novel about Jung, The World is Made of Glass. West's 26th novel demonstrates his genius for detail: Each story-heavy page also carries engrossing (and relevant) arcana on the fine arts, high finance, and psychology. Genius financier Larry Lucas, who burns brightly but masks dark depths, vanishes, having pulled off a $5 billion deal for Strassberger & Company in New York. Married to the daughter of Emil Strassberger, his boss, and the father of two children, Larry suffers from a mood disorder and has chosen to quit the company and his marriage while at the peak of his career--entering what artists call the ``vanishing point'' in rendering perspective. Larry's artist brother-in-law Carl, meanwhile, is called home from his French village to seek out the lost Larry. The search carries Carl back to France and then on to Italy and Switzerland, as well as deep into the toils of international finance. Larry has surrendered his considerable fortune and his Strassberger bonds to a financier who funds a shady travel service that helps people disappear and start new lives. By the time Carl finally faces Larry at a Jungian hospital in Zurich, he has also faced a number of devious and violent characters, been duped and almost destroyed by a crushingly intelligent villain, and sampled a smorgasbord of sex and great cuisine in fabulous hotels along the way. Also enviable: West's photographic eye for scene-setting, buildings, and European landscape, not to mention human appearances. Only his whetstoned dialogue at times bulks up with space-saving, informational rather than dramatic cadences--but few will care. Amazing cultural grasp from a writer who seems to have been born knowing everything. (International author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-101069-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996


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