THE AIR CAGE by Per Wastberg


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Direct from Sweden where it has been bestselling successfully, this is a lambently erotic novel -- not to be confused with smut (or for that matter the publisher referral to Updike) since actually it is closer to Lawrence's wild flower lyricism. In fact it keeps distancing away into the larger natural world of ecological concerns since Jan works for Air Traffic Control; Gertrude, his wife and half-sister, is with the Academy of Sciences studying ferns; and Jenny, with whom he falls in love, works for the Department of Environment. The novel is written in slow takes (it will be a Bergman film) as Jan attempts to sustain the dual relationship with Gertrude whom he first knew in the carnal sense as a child, and with Jenny whom he now knows all over (al fresco outdoors and impromptu indoors). The urgency of sensation might become an end in itself were it not for the fact that this is overfreighted with a great deal of discussion and description, some of it banally sentimental (""I love you, he said to the nailbrush in the silence of the bathroom. For it was worn a little flat by her fingertips. . . ""). It luxuriates in its sensuously delighted discovery of every anatomical grotto and seems curiously innocent. Another Dear John?

Pub Date: June 19th, 1972
Publisher: Delacorte