MR. DALLOWAY by Robin Lippincott


Age Range: 1 - 32767
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paper 1-889330-29-9 Another in the imitation-of-the-greats genre, this time turning on the narrow premise that Mr. Clarissa Dalloway was gay. (Lippincott wrote The Real, True Angel, stories, not reviewed.) For a decade, Richard Dalloway, aged 55 and retired from Parliament, has been carrying on an affair with one Robert Davies, ten years his junior and as enamored of Richard as Richard is of him. Clarissa herself, when Richard confessed to her the nature of what was going on, informed him with classic tolerance that she “understood——and that seemed to have been that. And yet Richard’s secret torture still won—t go away as he suffers ploddingly between the torment of desire and the awful terror of discovery. Like Mrs. Dalloway in her book, Mr. Dalloway walks through the park, buys flowers, thinks about the past, plans a party—for the Dalloways” 30th anniversary. His and others” thoughts are portrayed amid small blizzards of parentheses (and shouldn—t they be?) far in excess (one can—t help but feel) of any Woolfian measure, while a craven imitativeness in style, however skilled, seems designed as much to fill stage-time as to advance or reveal (Woolf’s towering purpose) things (—Oh, it is cruel, Richard Dalloway thought—life, time: cruel—). Waiting (and waiting) for the party to begin, explorations are made into the causes of the same-sex love in Robbie and Richard—Robbie’s wonderful relation with his now-absent father, Richard’s hideous relation with his—not to mention Richard’s unbounded love for his younger brother Duncan, who in his early teens, however, bowed tragically out of life altogether (—There. There it was. There he was—a white, bloodless Duncan, hanging...from one of the rafters. No! Richard turned away. It couldn—t be! No! It wasn—t possible . . . .—). A first novel that’s often elegant (to a fault, one quickly adds) in imitation of surface and style but that gravely misconstrues its high model by bending it to lesser and unoriginal aims.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-889330-28-0
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Sarabande
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1999


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