TOO LATE by Stephen Dixon
Kirkus Star


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A virtuoso throwaway--as Dixon nudges Neil Simonish situations (humorous urban impossibilities) through the hoop of Barthelme-style embarrassments and finally leaps out into a sort of scattershot display of contemporary speech à la William Gaddis. The set-up: model Donna Akers walks out of a too-violent movie and promptly disappears, so boyfriend Art Alimin spends the rest of the book trying to run her down. It's done almost completely with messages--personal talk, phone calls (even once removed: a hilarious abuse of those message machines), shouted appeals to his neighbors from the lobby of his apartment building, and, finally, newspaper ads. When the cops gently put him off--and Art is so manic that even the reader wishes Donna godspeed wherever she's gone to--he writes ransom notes to himself, hoping to revive official interest in the investigation. The escalation of Art's hysteria--and the lock-step city bedlam--is fired in consecutive blasts of recitative; it's almost a totally dialogued book, the voices seeming to line up until it's their turn. The effect is dizzying but great fun. And Dixon's ear for how people talk (and how little they ever actually say) is astounding.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1978
Publisher: Harper & Row