GOULD by Stephen Dixon

GOULD

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Stream-of-consciousness fiction, about one Gould Bookbinder, a would-be writer, and his many girlfriends, from the prolific author of Interstate (1995), Frog (1991), etc. The story divides into two novellas, ``Abortions'' and ``Evangeline,'' but they are of a piece, chronicling the relationships Gould experiences from the 1950s onward. Dixon writes in a run-on style that drifts in and out of these relationships, capturing, in the process, the emergence of a more liberal moral climate, and the evolution of a naive adolescent into a mature man. ``Abortions'' thus moves from back-alley abortions to legal ones; it is the relationships themselves, however, that are abortive here, unsatisfactory and temporary. Gould doesn't have much to offer his women except sex, and the assets they have, in his eyes, are purely sexual. He flits from one female to another until, finally, he's married and a father, but his wife, too, is purely a sexual being, and abortions still happen. Gould's longest relationship is not with his wife but with the title character of the second novella, with whom he maintains a correspondence and whom he continues to sees long after he's married. Evangeline is a free spirit, raising her son on the fly as she takes on lover after lover, pops pills, and plays at becoming an artist. She and Gould proclaim a hundred times that they don't belong together, that they have nothing in common, that each wants most to be free. Ironically, they are in fact exactly suited to each other--they're both irresponsible, selfish, and self-absorbed in much the same way. Extremely readable and clever work, but the pages don't add up to much except sex and more sex, described in clinical detail and with clinical dispassion, featuring a cast of characters who seem incapable of thinking about anything other than their bodies and their appetites.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8050-4424-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1996




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