BT-Lunacy and Caprice

Henry van Dyke, Author
Henry van Dyke, Author Ballantine Books $5.95 (277p) ISBN 978-0-345-34228-7
Reviewed on: 02/01/1987
Release date: 02/01/1987
While Hugo, an NYU film student, is house-sitting for Florian, a quirky art collector, Florian's dog dies and Hugo takes its body to his Aunt Winifred, a friend of Florian, who has the dog stuffed by her taxidermist. When Florian returnsand learns to his shock and dismay of his pet's fateHugo is unwittingly dragged into a net of complex and intriguing erotic relations as well as conspiracies of thievery and fraud. Soon Florian hosts a masquerade party that goes afoul and winds up with a mystery hunt through Central Park that leads to the stuffed carcass of poor auntie. The novel turns sentimental at this point, when the series of misadventures proves to be a right-of-passage and moral awakening for Hugo. Although Van Dyke is a skillful writer, he shows such a lack of sympathy for his characters that the intimate becomes voyeuristic and the erotic obscene. And scenes such as the degutting of carcasses, described in graphic detail, are more perverse than silly, and too disturbing for healthy laughter. (March)
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