Last Train North

Lionel Rolfe, Author
Lionel Rolfe, Author Panjandrum Books $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-915572-95-3
Reviewed on: 02/01/1987
Release date: 02/01/1987
In 1969, itinerant newspaper reporter Ari Mendelsohn begins working at the Oldhouse Tribune in Oldhouse, Calif., where he becomes a friend of ""Oldhouse Jr.,'' son of the paper's proprietor. Ari and Junior spend much time in a late-'60s reverie, smoking grass, star-gazing in a hot tub, pondering the meaning of life and making love to the many women who throw themselves at them. Rolfe attempts to deal with many themes in this unsuccessful elegy to the '60s: among them, free love as a way to break down barriers between people, contrasts between Jews and WASPs, and, particularly, how to spread the message of the ``life principle.'' Unfortunately, the work misses its mark. For one, the turgid prose bludgeons ideas (``It was in the sixties that I discovered that even though down-home atheism made the most sense intellectually, and gave a tingle to my backbone, I was really rather religious''). Moreover, the rampant sex is adolescently mechanical, and the characters fade in the wild, vague speculation about the meaning of the cosmos. (June)
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