Conglomeros

Jesse Browner, Author
Jesse Browner, Author Random House (NY) $21 (245p) ISBN 978-0-679-40879-6
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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In this strange, intriguing allegory, Aaron X., a rich, sybaritic widower, tracks down the Conglomeros, a six-legged, hermaphroditic, humanoid monster in the mountains of Romania, the hunt inspired by his having stumbled across a Conglomeros statue by surrealist Victor Brauner in a museum. Smuggling the gentle beast back to New York, Aaron gambols with it on an upstate farm, coddles it, teaches it English. They become lovers. But when Aaron moves the creature to Manhattan--the Conglomeros hunched in a wheelchair, disguised in a wig and sunglasses--the beast assumes a new identity as Connie Lo Meros, trendy East Village nightclub monologoist and high priestess of a crackpot cult called Dialectical Variablism. Then it falls head over heels in love with the cult's exploitive founder, Forrest Schaeffer. Aaron's attempt to win back the fallen Conglomeros and restore it to a pristine state ends in a horrific climax in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Drawing on Poe and Kafka and on Celine's complex irony, Browner (Celine) weaves a darkly haunting parable that speaks simultaneously of the death of beauty and goodness in the world, the way we project our needs onto those we love, and the huge, untapped potential of the human unconscious. (Nov.)
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