The Greenhouse Effect

Eric Swanson, Author Little Brown and Company $16.45 (145p) ISBN 978-0-316-82477-4
Like Bright Lights, Big City , this debut novel focuses on an unnamed man in his 20s or 30s struggling to survive the swirl of Manhattan life and honestly confront himself. Swanson's narrator, less witty and more cynical than McInerney's, is a homosexual actor who, during the stiflingly hot summer of 1988, is driven to examine his sexuality and general unhappiness amid an emotional haze aggravated by alcohol, cigarettes and high temperatures. Aside from complaints of profuse sweating and difficulty with breathing, the narrator's angst is too unfocused and intangible to command much sympathy: ``Whatever I tried would always come down to the same damn thing; whatever I wanted would always end up the same damn way.'' His most profound philosophical contributions are that ``we're about truth'' and ``we're running from death.'' Such post-adolescent whining might be excused for the sake of a substantial message. But a novel that, despite the central role of homosexuality, makes only one--very indirect--reference to AIDS and, despite its title, uses global warming as a mere metaphor, probably cannot lay claim to any higher purpose. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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