Vertical Hold

Laurel Bauer, Author St. Martin's Press $0 (276p) ISBN 978-0-312-83879-9
This entertaining first novel is marked by humor, intelligence and felicitous prose. Forty-year-old Jacob Geller lives in the Connecticut suburb of Lynford, where his wife owns a toy store. Mitzi is the modern achiever, while Jake is a throwback, an educated thinker, content to sweep and clean, stock and sort, so as to ponder life's perplexities. Opening on the Jewish New Year, with Jake at the shore attempting to pray, the story involves a complex of well-drawn characters, each recognizable, none a stereotype. Gena Stern, recently divorced by her Wall Street hotshot husband, views the world as though it were a TV show and, with a rightness characteristic of the novel, falls in with a TV newsman whose outlook is similar. Jake's brother, Bruce, a TV executive with an avowed antipathy for ideas, wonders how to connect with his teenage son, while the son and his friends systematically and desultorily burglarize their parents' homes. Also featured are a family of local Italians that includes an assistant DA, a cop and the boys' fence, an ambitious black college student who dreams of island revolutions and a door-to-door evangelist with a gift for mistiming. With accuracy and comic witits barbs sheathed in sympathyBauer leads the questing, questioning Jake through all these lives, allowing him few conclusions, but leaving him free, as he believes, to ""press on regardless.''(November 17)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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