Sacred Lips of the Bronx

Douglas Sadownick, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-312-11052-9
Sadownick's ambitious first novel combines AIDS activism, Jewish folklore, New Age therapies, kinky sex and some extraordinary passages about life in contemporary Venice, Calif., and the Bronx of yesteryear. At the center is Michael Kaplan, an AIDS journalist living in post-riot Los Angeles. Sadownick juxtaposes the ghosts of Michael's adolescence in the Bronx--his Polish grandmother Frieda, his jazz musician brother and his Puerto Rican teenage lover--against his current struggles in L.A., particularly his deteriorating 10-year relationship with Robert, an AIDS activist and performance artist. Some portions of Michael's life seem overlooked, others are overwritten, and at times the mysticism gets out of hand, particularly in the novel's denouement. Mostly, however, Sadownick's clear understanding of his protagonist and his own keen journalistic eye for detail allow the material to transcend its simplistic plot, making this an absorbing story. As an editor tells Michael after he is arrested as a participant while covering a demonstration for his newspaper: ``Everyone knows you've crossed a line . . . I'm not sure that makes great writing, but it makes a good read.'' (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-312-13165-4
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