Walking Papers

Jay Cronley, Author Random House (NY) $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-394-56947-5
Cronley's protagonist John Grape is a writer who has had his season of glory after his novel Unnatural Causes became a bestseller and then a popular movie starring Robert Redford. But, when this chronicle begins, Grape has been reduced to a walking cave-in after a calamitous change in fortune. A blood-curdling divorce settlement has stripped him of a large share of his bank account and his idyllic Connecticut home and quarantined him from his pretty, impressionable, artist-wife, who still retains a lien on his affections. Meanwhile, a receding hairline and an expanding waistline, a galloping gambling habit and a wrenching writer's block only help to send him careening into a spiritual free-fall. Landing in Las Vegas, Grape manages to reverse his losing streak by hitting it big at the tables. Buoyed by the windfall, he decides literally to exorcise his old image and remake himself into a new man through plastic surgery, a crash conditioning course and a radical change in attitude. Under the camouflage of his new identity, the born-again Lothario heads east to win back the affections of his estranged soul mate. His ignoble fall from grace also proves his ticket back into the literary big time; his account of his lacerating experiences becomes a hot cinematic property. Written in a breakneck and breezy fashion, this novel by the author of Funny Farm is sporadically amusing although often juvenile in its humor. Furthermore, Cronley's mannered prosecomposed principally of abrupt, one-sentence, newspaper-style paragraphsbecomes irritating, serving only to underline the glib characterizations and plotting. (August)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-34807-4
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