FINCHY by Yolande Finch


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The second wife of actor Peter Finch tells the story of their miserable marriage--and of her post-Finch sexual/psychological awakenings. But though there are some tawdry details here that didn't get into such Finch bios as Finch, Bloody Finch (by Elaine Dundy, 1980), there's little fresh illumination of his tortured personality; nor does Yolande's own odyssey prove to be particularly engaging. They met on a beach in South Africa: she was an S.A.-born, aspiring actress; he was a rising star on vacation, married, and involved with Vivien Leigh. Soon they were living together in London, though Yolande was less than thrilled with Finchy's kinkiness (he pushed her into threesomes with prostitutes) and frustrated that his chauvinism impeded--supposedly--her career. There was also a creepy scene with Vivien, who begged Peter to come back to her. But despite all (Finchy's drinking, all-night insomnia, philandering), they wed, she got pregnant; meanwhile he was trying on stockings and caressing men as preparation for playing Oscar Wilde in a film. Also add in Yolande's frigidity--and it wasn't too long before a suicide try and a semi-ugly divorce (after which Finchy reappeared to Yolande and her two kids only once). So the book's last 50 pages are Yolande's rather drab identity quest--from dildo masturbation (""I happily fondled the disgorged tool"") to lovers to psychoanalysis. Some of the comments on Finch are shrewd--on his fabled rapport with Aborigines and blacks, for instance. And there's one priceless sequence: Yol's grand try at a dinner party--to which she has unknowingly invited mortal enemies (Emlyn Williams and Edna O'Brien). Otherwise: a sharp-tongued but not-very-likable cross between gossipy biography and self-realization memoir.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1981
Publisher: Wyndham/Simon & Schuster