Venus Blue

Gustaf Sobin, Author
Gustaf Sobin, Author Little Brown and Company $19.95 (250p) ISBN 978-0-316-80255-0
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 02/01/1992
Hardcover - 220 pages - 978-0-7475-0745-1
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In this fussy, posturing novel by poet Sobin ( Voyaging Portraits ), narrator Stefan Hollander is a compulsive collector, entranced with ``relics'' of bygone ladies. He treasures a blue-bound 1939 journal kept by Millicent Rappaport, a novelist who was enraptured by glamorous 1930s actress/aviatrix Molly Lamanna. Stefan dreams about Molly, acquires her films and memorabilia and wonders why she named one Luis deSaumerez--now vanished--as her beneficiary. By the time this mystery is cleared, the reader has long ago lost interest in characters who are not only deceased but lifeless. Chapters shuttle between Stefan's present-day account and Millicent's journal, advancing the idea that reality is elusive and we substitute mirrors and fetishes, words and myths. Layers of decorative verbal embroidery enfold the tale's vacuous core. Stefan at last tires of Molly and Millicent, admitting that his interest in them ``dwindled'' and Molly was ``too abstract,'' aptly pinpointing the novel's deficiencies. (Feb.)
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