The Man Who Knew Cary Grant

Jonathan Schwartz, Author
Jonathan Schwartz, Author Random House (NY) $16.95 (249p) ISBN 978-0-394-56967-3
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Following his book of stories, Almost Home , radio personality and singer Schwartz, the son of noted musical-comedy composer Arthur Schwartz, presents 10 interconnected episodic short stories about Jesse Savitt, a journalist living in New York. Consisting of a record of emotional experiencesschool days, difficult romances, spoiled friendships, a picnic with an ex-wife and daughter, tragedy and insanitythey reveal, though not in chronological order, the events that have formed Jesse as an adult. Most of the stories center on Jesse's unusual, metamorphous relationship with his widower father, Norman, a songwriter and composer. Norman, who knew Cary Grant ``to talk to,'' plays his new compositions to Jesse over the telephone, and, as he grows older and disappointed with his lack of fame, bemoans the cacophony of rock music and changing societal tastes. Other experiences involve Norman only pe ripherally: in Chloe Hummel of the Chicago White Sox , Jesse's first sexual liaison starts with fireworks but ends on a note of disappointment; in Crazy , Jesse gets his feelings hurt again, to the point of a slight nervous breakdown. Schwartz tends to confuse self-pity with pathos and tries to load import into some mundane and trite incidents, but the relationship between father and son evoked in these pages is inventive and powerful, and salvages the collection as a whole. (October)
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