Fear

Simon Lane, Author
Simon Lane, Author Bridge Works Publishing Company $21.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-882593-22-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/2002
Release date: 02/01/1998
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-1-882593-53-8
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A British expatriate living at loose ends in Paris, protagonist Fear is persuaded by his banker to write an erotic novel, and the sections of this work-in-progress (about a woman known only as the Pigalle Girl and her lover, a pilot) are by far the most engaging chapters of this new novel by British writer Lane (Still Life with Books). Aside from writing the book, Fear spends his days dodging his debts, drinking presents and musing about the quirks of Paris. While some of his observations are trenchant enough, they don't do much by way of a plot, and the supporting characters remain paper-thin. Although the novel posits itself as a commentary on the pursuit of art versus the lure of commercialism, Fear never establishes himself in the reader's mind as a serious artist (unless a chronic lack of funds and a tendency to befriend bartenders are credentials). Fear's erotic novel is published and achieves success, but plot developments conspire to keep him in exactly the circumstances where he was found at the novel's outset. This mildly titillating tale will please more readers with its sex scenes than with its commentary on the City of Light or the writing life. (Apr.)
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