Beside Myself

Russell Haley, Author Penguin Books $8.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-14-013330-1
Midge Cochrane, New Zealander, divorced and unemployed, speaks for and to himself throughout this claustrophobic account of emotional disintegration: ``I'm in a pit and Midge isn't strong enough to pull himself out.'' Vibrant descriptions of nature and its menace--``We might look clean and green if you live your life in Tokyo or London but the poisons are there just below the surface of appearance''--are a writing van Gogh's. Midge's ex-wife's postcards from Europe celebrate her freedom, his present relationship is drab, his best friend is killed in an auto accident and his move to Aukland with a new love appears to be doomed by his increasing distance from reality. This is a keen portrayal of the helplessness of a man's intelligence and culture before his inner demons. The language is rich, the references to travel, art and literature are those of someone you'd like to know if you could stand it. Haley is coeditor of The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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