SMILE ON THE VOID by Stuart Gordon


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The sometimes powerful, sometimes tedious, heavily symbolic fictional biography of larger-than-life Ralph M'botu Kitaj: trickster, myth-maker, murderer, capitalist, bawd, shaman. . . and (possibly) messiah. Out of the Warsaw ghetto, the boy Kitaj takes his mystic inclinations and hypnotic powers to Africa, where he aspires to become a shaman--a test he fails through unresolved anger and jealousy, emotions which next impel him to embrace capitalism at its rapacious worst. He becomes the world's richest, most explosive and controversial man, perpetrating outrages wherever he goes, insulated from law and justice by his vast wealth. Eventually sickening of his own disease, he flees to Ireland and at last succeeds in passing through the inner barriers of his mind, emerging with the power to act as a channel for the unrealized psychic energy that exists within everyone. And Gordon's hardworking attempt to create a modern, psychological, paranormal messiah-figure (cf. Bester's Tiger! Tiger! and Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land) is bolstered with literary allusions, Jungian theories, and over-large dollops of mysticism. Too preachy (especially at the end) to hold the interest throughout--but a solid, sometimes even compelling stab at grand-scale myth-making.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1981
Publisher: Putnam