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This is as addictive, ingenious and fashionable as the London Times crosswords that divert boy-genius Alan Casper from his Harvard course in linguistics or his post-graduate, post-defloration lay-abouts Or his Peace Corps assignment as imperialist-anthropologist. The humor is predicated on sophisticated in-jokes -- Ivy League clubbiness, intellectual put-on, UMC (you know -- as opposed to LMC?) Camelot ambience -- from the '60's and it's only slightly more elevated than a Lampoon ""true story in the sense that it was made up."" Sokolov casts himself as the Author who has assembled Casper's documents, starting with the essay on his college application, concluding with his glossary of Xixi Indian vocabulary and consisting mainly of diaries-and letters from his horny Cliffie, his ""Mommy"" and several CIA types. Naturally, there are footnotes. Never mind the part about how young Alan is supposed to betray his Xixi brothers into the hands of uranium profiteers and you know he won't. Never mind those political insights and culture-shocks. Dig the insets -- like the tribal initiation when he hallucinates Julia Child preparing Ragout de caiman a la mode de Kuva or the mock myths or skinny dipping in the latrine where some joker has dumped his Shakespeare. You get the feeling that Sokolov has more native intelligence than this plaything proves; but for what that's worth to the crowd around the university, it's clever and flashy.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row