The Romantic

Aram Saroyan, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $16.95 (210p) ISBN 978-0-07-054859-6
Too vague and uncommitted to work as a portrayal of a man's midlife crisis, this meandering novel from the author of Trio is rather a chronicle of midlife disaffection. Entering his 40s with a successful screenwriting career taking wing and a loving family nestled in the Connecticut suburbs, James Redding wanders through the corridors of success with a roving eye. Everywhere he goesa meeting on Park Avenue with an editor, a script conference in Los Angeles, even a secondhand bookstorehe sees women he wants. When he begins an affair wtih the ex-mistress of a movie director, the sex is torrid, but the passion is, not surprisingly, absent. Returning home, he learns that his wife has taken a lover as well, and a double standard governs his reactiona point the novel makes with a thudding lack of subtlety. Saroyan bloats his tale with the protagonist's musings over the excesses of the Reagan era, as well as some literary name-dropping (Redding always totes a copy of Henry Roth's Call It Sleep ) and celebrity cameos (Andy Warhol at the Palladium, Michael Caine at the Russian Tea Room). Even with padding, this is a very slender story. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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