BRAVE TALK by Steven Molton


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Brave talk indeed, but very little real action: an overwrought, overwritten first novel about a young man's affair with a sailor's wife. Digit Clepchak isn't exactly on anybody's most-likely-to-succeed list: after flunking out of the submarine service, he spends his time hanging around his Connecticut port town drinking with his buddy Maglio. The unnamed town's primary business is submarines--building them and launching them--and one day Digit spies beautiful Adriana Pelletier, the Cuban-born wife of Richard Pelletier, a naval officer so obsessed by submarines that he's spent the last ten years on sea duty. Adriana has been left alone so much that by the time Digit bluffs his way into her trailer, she's nearly round the bend: she puts out his cigarette on her palm and then hands him a knife to stab her with. The affair continues (in between visits home by Richard); Digit and Adriana talk a great deal about sex, death, and the mystery of life: ""Lately I seem to wanna flush other people's dreams out of them. . . Seems that time will only tell ya what you don't want to hear,"" says Digit, who is a kind of rebel without a cause stuck in a deadend town. He finally goes to work in the naval yards and learns of shoddy workmanship, corruption, and cover-ups in the building of the new submarine, the Angler. At the close, Richard is killed along with the rest of the crew when the boat implodes under water, Adriana heads for Miami with her kids--and Digit is left behind on his own. Molton gets a nice, early 60's, small-town ambiance into his story, but ruins it by murky, pretentious writing when it comes to his portentously star-crossed central couple.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1987
Publisher: Harper & Row