THE GAY PLACE by William Brammer


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This is the M Literary Fellowship Award and introduces a newcomer of considerable stature. But frankly we do not see him as a major literary figure or a great discovery. The Gay Place depends too much on stock sex situations, indiscriminate changing of partners, free for alls on a superficial charge of excess liquor and license. And yet it will undoubtedly be reviewed as another inside picture of American politics -- and an unsavory one on all counts. Brammer has a gift for dialogue, a sharp wit, a keen sense of posing irreconcilables. But as a story-teller he has much to learn. The Gay Place is actually three books:- The Flea Circus, Room Enough to Cper and The Gay Place. The setting throughout is presumably Texas- big, brash, and rich. The personable governor, Arthur Fenstmaker, is a constant in all three stories, and with overlapping minor characters links the three parts into a major portrait of the American political arena. And an arena it is, with victims thrown to the beasts, with shenanigans and extravaganzas arranged for the entertainment of the mob, with questionable manipulations behind the scenes, deals, wire pulling, cheap stunts. The first part follows the build up of a young and indifferent politician, Roy Sherwood, more concerned with asserting his potency with Ouida, neglected wife of a one-time associate and playboy, than in forwarding the bill the governor wants him to handle; the second part charts the tricking of a very junior senator into running for office, when what he thinks he wants is to stay home and win back his wayward wife; the third part records a junket in which the governor and his entourage visit a movie on location -- and of the attempt to hush up a scandal which breaks wide open in his absence. Somehow the parts never jell, either on their own or as panels in an overall scene. And somehow one doesn't much care.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1961
ISBN: 0292708319
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin