Orwellian totalitarianism struggles with ingrained deviance in this uneven hallucinatory satire of moral, psychological and political conventions. As the result of his affair with a 12-year-old boy, a former teacher must undergo a panoply of bizarre rehabilitative treatments-therapy sessions in which he is naked and a bag is placed over his head, erotic film screenings he must attend with electrical apparatuses attached to his genitals, etc. Doctor-General Nicholas Nicholas, in charge of this regimen, inspires awe and loyalty in his patient (called Mr. uh, uh). But outside of his treatments, Mr. uh, uh enters an illicit underworld, frequenting performances by a banned drag queen, taking another young lover and halfheartedly joining a group of revolutionaries. Stadler (Landscape: Memory; The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee) writes with wit and precision, cleverly dramatizing the dialectical nature of social truths. But his treatment of the specific issue of child molestation is, uncharacteristically, obtuse and unconvincing. And, despite the novel's outlandish milieu, there is a disappointing staleness to its recycling of Big Brother. Author tour. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994 Release date: 09/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.