Ekaterina

Donald Harington, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $24.95 (373p) ISBN 978-0-15-128122-0
Harington ( The Cockroaches of Stay More ) is a down-to-earth fantasist who has considerably expanded his range this time out. Ekaterina is an acknowledged homage to Nabokov, particularly to Lolita , and if it misses some of the Russian master's visionary playfulness, it has many charms of its own to offer--particularly, for book people, its note-perfect sense of how publishing works. The heroine is a beautiful exile from an obscure corner of formerly Soviet Georgia who comes to the U.S. to teach mycology (the study of mushrooms)--a clear echo of Nabokov's butterfly passion--and, like Nabokov, becomes a bestselling novelist. As Humbert Humbert hankered after nymphets, Ekaterina's yen is for small boys--not more than 12 years old, and virginal. It is an obsession that eventually proves to be her apparent undoing when an interviewer from Paris Review turns out to be the mother of one of the boys she has seduced. That, in bald outline, is the story, but Harington has layered it with narrative gimmicks: the narrator at first tells Ekaterina's tale in an awkward second person; another character, a heavy-drinking, unsuccessful novelist who takes her to his native Bodarks, is represented by the initial I .; and eventually she tells her story herself, aided by a psychic cat. The whole of the New York Review of Books review that changed her life is reproduced (in fictional facsimile), and so is her fatal interview. All this makes for a fair amount of clutter, but Harington's magical-realist view of the U.S., and his deep attachment to his ``Bodarks,'' is so beguiling that the reader suspends impatience. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 373 pages - 978-0-15-600047-5
Paperback - 978-1-59264-096-6
Paperback - 403 pages - 978-1-61218-103-5
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