Blue Heaven

Joe Keenan, Author Penguin Books $14 (288p) ISBN 978-0-14-010764-7
In his debut novel, Keenan, a lyricist, illustrates what happens when Philip Cavanaugh, a homosexual and struggling songwriter, becomes embroiled in a scheme by his former lover, Gilbert Selwyn, who plans to marry a wealthy duchess's daughter to reap the wedding gifts. The plot grows more complicated with, among other things, the involvement of the Mafia, the unmasking of the duchess and a rekindled love affair between ``Philly'' and ``Gilley.'' Yet, despite these elaborate plot machinations, the characters remain one-dimensional (flighty Gilbert, Philip's yuppie sister and brother-in-law in the suburbs, amoral Moira Finch, the bride), failing to engage the reader's interest in them or in their predicaments. Keenan has Philip narrating in a contrived, lighthearted tone replete with one-liners (``Holly's laugh sounds like a getaway car rounding a corner on two wheels'') and pursuing stereotypes of pretentiously artsy New Yorkers and high-strung, irrational gays. A skillful ending cannot compensate for all that precedes it. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-09-943504-4
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