Judith

Nicholas Mosley, Author Dalkey Archive Press $19.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-916583-69-9
This Pinteresque third novel based on the characters in Mosley's earlier Catastrophe Practice takes the form of confessional letters written by Judith, a young actress on the fringe of English high society. Through Desmond, a journalist at a satirical magazine nicknamed Die Flamme, Judith is introduced to Oliver, a devastatingly attractive portrait painter who is rumored to be involved in Middle East arms procurement. Judith enters a sadistic relationship with Oliver, becoming increasingly paranoid from the drugs on which both are heavily dependent. Desmond is accidentally killed, and Judith, partly responsible, flees England to an Indian ashram run by a figure known simply as God. After the guru is the target of an assassination attempt, Judith flees again--this time back to England, where she takes up with her former lover Bert, a filmmaker documenting an antinuclear demonstration at an American air base, and tries to make sense of what she feels are the predestined, though seemingly random actions of her life so far. Tautly paced and bearing an authentic voice--Mosley immediately draws the reader into Judith's edgy, ambiguous inner world--the narrative is often poignant and in some ways haunting. However, the novel's obsession with nuclear annihilation and the resulting fatalistic actions of its characters, its background of drugs, free sex and ashrams seem oddly dated now, giving the impression of an earnest '60s period piece. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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