THE RESORT by Sol Stein


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Stein's novels have generally teetered on the edge between solid commercial storytelling (usually with an up-to-date theme) and out-and-out, crass pulpmanship; now he plunges over the brink with a foully exploitative scare-book that will probably show up on television as Holocaust '80. Dr. Margaret Brown and her Jewish husband Henry are vacationing in California, and, on advice from a helpful hotel clerk (actually a secret ""steerer""), they stop off on their drive along the coast at the lush, secluded Cliffhaven resort. Next thing you know, Margaret and Henry are sealed in their room, prisoners of a mad Texas tycoon who is luring rich Jews to Cliffhaven, then killing the sons and daughters who arrive to track down their missing parents--all in order ""to deplete the reservoir of Jewish genes."" The Cliffhaven prisoners are drugged, starved, punished by being locked up in lockers, eavesdropped upon with hidden cameras--and when Henry manages to escape, Margaret is tortured and taunted (""If a woman had a gasoline-drenched tampon placed in her vagina and the tampon was ignited. . . . Is that what you want?""). But finally Henry and Margaret and a couple of other brave inmates (some are cowardly sellouts) set fire to the woods around Cliffhaven and bring on the Big Rescue. . . just as their son arrives on his own solo rescue mission. There's some serviceable action-suspense in these final chapters--but it has nothing to do with the particular sort of prison the inmates are escaping from. And Stein pads a basically tiny tale with thoroughly gratuitous sex (including one thug-guard's lust for ""Jewish pussy"") and repetitious recitations of every anti-Semitic stereotype and epithet by the cartoon Bad Guys. Perhaps it's possible that a decent, effective novel can be written in response to the recent escalation in apparent U.S. anti-Semitism--but this cheap, farfetched, and slickly gross item only reduces the genuine problem to a comic-strip that can be laughed away.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1979
ISBN: 0595350070
Publisher: Morrow