The Blue Lady's Hands

John Champagne, Author
John Champagne, Author L. Stuart $12.95 (162p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0478-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
This brief first novel attempts to explain the dynamics of two New York men falling in love in an era made paranoid by AIDS. Unfortunately, however, the characters are only ciphers and the first-person narration keeps the tone too confessional and the focus too narrow to engage the reader's interest. The unnamed 26-year-old narrator obsesses about the ``Blue Lady,'' a vision of the Virgin Mary who comes to him to open his heart. He is also preoccupied with memories of his mother, who had a nervous breakdown when he was very young, and with his guilt over her disappearance into a mental hospital where she was given shock treatments. A poet who obviously believes in the incantatory power of endless refrains, he laments again and again that he has never been loved. Several scenes demonstrate that Champagne has talent (he has also included some unformed poetry as a device for bringing us into the narrator's mind; and one poem``Death in Autumn,'' about friends who have died of AIDShas real power). But we long to be outside the narrator's mind, to see scenes and personalities develop rather than be described from memory by an self-conscious narrator who gives inordinate space to recounting sessions with his therapist. (September)
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