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Boys and girls, yes, and boys and boys, and husbands--moonlighting, all go out to play in this profligate novel which records the lives of five primary and a good many subsidiary characters. (It's a big book- i.e. it's long- 700-800 pages.) Besides going the distance at a pace few have achieved in just this way except Harold Robbins, it's just loaded with sex. (It's a big book- i.e. it's commercial.) The alternating chronology follows: Branch Scudder, whose Lady acbeth of a mother castrated him long before the time when, as a boy, she permitted him to truss himself up in her lingerie; Walter Kirkaby, second son in every way to rich P.J., who went on to Oberlin, married and divorced one girl, dreamed about another; Jenny Devers, from the Wisconsin northwoods, less available than she looks, who finally ends up in New York with the hope of becoming an actress and the reality of an affair with a well-married man; Rudy, a beautiful, too beautiful, boy who used the fire escape as an out from his ""King Schlemiel"" father and his migraine-ridden mother; and finally Aaron, a crippled boy, who grows up through the years of being poor at Princeton to the corroding, corrupting torment of his homosexuality. Probably it is these lacerating scenes with Aaron, at college, in the Army, seeing the book he writes rejected, going to an analyst, and then giving in with loathing to the condition of the kept faggot which will be most remembered. It almost turns out to be his book, in spite of its corporate beginnings and its composite end where it falls apart by trying to bring all the boys and girls together.... This is Goldman's fourth novel. The earlier ones had some of the qualities apparent here in a few obstreperously funny scenes. And, if nothing else, Goldman can demonstrate just how much vitality the vernacular can achieve. Another judgment- Aaron's- on his book: ""If it was shallow, then it was superbly shallow."" And still another, it is inordinately, inevitably readable.

ISBN: 0345439732
Publisher: ?thenum