Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors

Evan Handler, Author
Evan Handler, Author Little Brown and Company $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-34409-8
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
While some adaptations from theater go limp as prose, Handler has expanded his off-Broadway play about surviving leukemia into a captivating memoir. Laced with anger, punctuated by humor and fueled by his indomitable will to survive, Handler's story is entertaining, harrowing and ennobling. A successful actor, at 24 he was forced to face his mortality. He provides gimlet-eyed portraits of an often uncaring (yet sometimes deeply loving) medical world and the ugly procedures he must undergo. To survive, Handler learned ``opportunistic optimism,'' drawing on inspirational literature, even consulting a psychic, all the while aided by his girlfriend, Jackie. He's forced to confront his family's craziness and his own emotional traumas. He can find humor in retelling his predicament--as in describing hospital sex--while his accounts of the mental bargains he and other patients make suggest a reckoning with ultimates. Readers will be appalled at instances of the often substandard medical treatment he receives and spellbound by his attempts to monitor his recovery. Considering himself ``one of the very luckiest of the unluckiest people,'' Handler speaks with a fresh voice that is entirely riveting. Author tour. (Jan.)
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