Four of Fools

Evelin Sullivan, Author
Evelin Sullivan, Author Fromm International $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88064-166-1
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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In a plot that fluctuates between the clever and the contrived, Sullivan's (Games of the Blind) four fools--Jon Anders, a burned-out professor; Vida, his dynamic, dissatisfied younger wife; Jim Quarrel, their happy-go-lucky friend; and Geoffrey Fry, an eminent physicist obsessively developing a theory of ``meaningful coincidences''--converge in an edgy menage in which their histories and fates successively loop and overlap. Vida has pulled Jon and Jim to Italy with her, where she will pursue graduate studies in science and history, ostensibly under Fry. But the professor's pursuit of a grand unifying theory for everything touches off a series of accidents and intentions. Told through the skeptical, slightly obtuse Jon, this spiraling narrative turns on the various revelations of each character's fairly lurid significant experiences in life, which link them increasingly and unexpectedly to one another. Their confessions and discoveries, such as the real story of Vida's childhood trauma, are unfortunately more surprising to the somewhat flat characters than they will be to the reader, exposing the hand of the author as much as fate's. Still, Sullivan's storytelling and prose are deft enough to keep her characters' true motives at least slightly ambiguous in this metaphysical answer to The Good Soldier. (May)
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