Peru

Gordon Lish, Author Dutton Books $15.95 (222p) ISBN 978-0-525-24375-5
An outstanding performer in prose fiction, Lish (author of Dear Mr. Capote and a short-story collection, What I Know So Far) here again delves into a psychotic mind and surpasses himself. Impassioned and forceful, the novel catapults the reader into the mind and heart of the narrator, Gordon, a man in his early 50s living on Manhattan's Upper East Side with his wife and son. He is desperately calling a network's studio to learn what atrocity just flashed across his TV screen, tuned in with the sound off. A woman on the night crew assures him that it was only some footage on the news, a disturbance in a prison in Peru, but Gordon's obsessive mind reels back to his youth in Long Island during the late '30s, when a grotesque killing occurredor perhaps occurred. ""I killed Steven Adinoff in Andy Lieblich's sandbox,'' confesses the speaker, as he compulsively recalls, in a stunning sequence of events, what it is to be a child of six, when what is experienced has boundless significance. One of the achievements of this obsessive monologue is to evoke a child's intensity of feeling with remarkable perspicacity. Tthe speaker laments: ``My God, just to be able to concentrate on something the way you could do it when you were sixjust to be able to put all your mind into itand all your whole bodyjust to be able to do that with anything again just for one single solitary instant.'' As the reader is compelled to attend this voice, we hear every thought turning over again and again inside the speaker's head, until at last we're unsure of the facts of the story, but not of the narrator's piercing intellect. This is a haunting book, provoking fresh perceptions about language, memory and power. In its way the novel is alsotangentiallyabout the fictional enterprise: real and not real. Is there a difference between the composition of fiction and our account of the world? Lish forces us to confront this question. January 22
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-684-18764-8
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-1-56478-802-3
Open Ebook - 205 pages - 978-1-56478-835-1
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