INVOLVED by Walther Habers

INVOLVED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Habers's debut, a tedious and chauvinistic Kundera copycat, shows how a chance encounter can change a life. One day, Bram, the head dealer of Alfa Romeo in the Netherlands, hits Dick, a 12-year-old boy, on a country road and severs his legs below the knee. The driver's guilt is compounded by the fact that the boy has no father and his mother lies in a hospital in another town due to back problems. So, while Bram's wife suggests he visit the boy and get it over with, Bram secretly becomes Dick's surrogate dad. Bram would do anything for Dick and even builds him a modified go-cart that can be driven ``without feet'' to encourage Dick's dream of becoming a race-car driver. Naturally, Dick's mother (the incredibly stunning Pauline, now fully recovered) feels indebted to Bram, but Bram (almost) doesn't notice how much she's willing to do for him until his jealous wife discovers his second family and drives him into Pauline's arms. The book falls apart as Habers turns from the complex emotions involved in the relationship with the boy to the sophomoric love triangle. The wife is a possessive ``bitch'' who should ``stop making a fuss'' about his new girlfriend. Pauline is a calm, sexy seductress who makes no demands and does no wrong. And Bram, well, he's just a man who ``considers it a compliment to be called a skirt-chaser'' and treats women like he treats cars (``fondle her headlights, get my piston into her cylinder, slap her rear bumper once in a while''). Stray subplots in which Bram slams a car door to break purposefully a would-be robber's legs and in which he kills one guy and blinds another in a separate burglary incident make the novel needlessly long--we already know Bram's a real man. A potentially challenging tragedy dissolves into a misogynist's wet dream.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1994
ISBN: 0-939149-95-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1994