The Gold Tip Pfitzer

Irene Handl, Author Alfred A. Knopf $13.95 (169p) ISBN 978-0-394-55088-6
This brief postscript to Handl's first novel, The Sioux, shares the elegance and ferocity of its predecessor but leaves a much nastier aftertaste. The self-indulgent, self-absorbed antics of the Benoir familythe Sioux, as they like to call themselvesare less amusing and more horrifying than they were before, mostly because they take place around the deathbed of Marguerite Benoir's nine-year-old son. The boy's death also signals the end of Marguerite's marriage to Englishman Vincent Castleton; by the end of the book, we fully share his disgust and rage at the Sioux lifestyle. One admires the author's courage in making her characters so utterly true to their despicable code of behavior, and they certainly have a distinctive vitality and insouciance, yet after a few chapters their glamorous decadence palls. Handl is an excellent stylist, and The Gold Tip Pfitzer is compulsively readable, but it's too unpleasant to be much fun. (March 5)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
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