Loving Women

Pete Hamill, Author Random House (NY) $19.95 (414p) ISBN 978-0-394-57528-5
Although it covers well-worn ground--a 17-year-old sailor's passage to manhood in the 1950s--veteran journalist Hamill's latest novel is told with such emotional urgency and pictorial vividness that it has the flavor of a well-liked old story rediscovered (in fact, it shares a good deal of atmosphere and incident with Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues ). Brooklyn-born Irish Catholic Michael Devlin (who narrates from middle age, heading toward his third divorce) arrives at his Navy base in Pensacola, Fla., with ambitions to become a cartoonist, lose his virginity and solve some of the mysteries of adult life. Lessons are imparted by a brutish master-at-arms, an ineffably hip black musician, and a cynical, smart fellow sailor who is a closet homosexual. Most important in his life is Eden Santana, a kind, emotionally bruised older woman with whom Michael falls hopelessly in love. Although Hamill's characters all have a ring of familiarity, and he insists too firmly on giving every one of them a sad secret and a predictable confessional monologue, he invests real passion, narrative energy and fondly remembered detail in this novel, and it pays off. BOMC alternate. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-55817-385-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 510 pages - 978-0-7860-1638-9
Open Ebook - 332 pages - 978-0-307-79966-1
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