BEING ALEXANDER

Nancy Sparling, Author . Ballantine $12.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-45064-7

A trod-upon nice guy is transformed into a ruthless avenger in this one-note debut novel. In the course of a week, London advertising writer Alex Fairfax catches his girlfriend astraddle his boss, finds his Jaguar sacked by hoodlums, is fired from his job and hit by a flying glass in a barroom brawl. Then, for good measure, he is mugged on the way home from the hospital. He reincarnates himself as the tough and narcissistic Alexander, intending to revenge himself on all those who have wronged him. As he puts it: "I am not a loser. Alex was a loser. I am Alexander. Yes, I am. I am Alexander." Similar renderings of this quote turn up all through the narrative, which makes for slow going. The newly minted Alexander starts his own instantly successful company, splurges on a designer wardrobe and wins Camilla, a snobbish girlfriend he showers with expensive gifts. Alexander gains access to upper-crust British society through Camilla's connections, and its soirées offer some of the book's best moments; however, the outcome of their romance is swift and predictable. Sparling fleshes out her familiar premise in rapid-fire, telegraphic prose and inserts several quirky, stream-of-consciousness chapters throughout the novel, but no pyrotechnics can quite jolt the plodding tale to life. Neither Alex nor Alexander is a particularly sympathetic character, and his assorted friends and enemies are never fully fleshed out. Movie rights purchased by New Line Cinema; foreign rights sold in six countries. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/10/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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