At a Certain Age

Herbert Park, Author Dutton Books $16.95 (220p) ISBN 978-0-525-24402-8
In both format (confessional) and theme (surviving the mid-life crisis), this first novel resembles the sort of ""human interest'' story that might ordinarily appear in a glossy magazine. The 51-year-old narrator, Donal Van Arsdale, recounts his troubles: his dog has died, his wife has deserted him, and he's been fired from his executive position at a conglomerate. This is daunting stuff, leading him to reassess his life. It seems he has taken too much for grantedhas opted for security over sensibilityin an effort to assuage certain childhood fears. Teetering on the brink of wisdom provoked by a flurry of self-induced psychological insights, he (and the novel) are spared further growth by the death of an aunt who leaves him a house, a fortune and a friend who is destined to become his next wife. Would that Aunt Peg's powers could have extended themselves to the enhancement of Donal's narrative voice, which mistakes archness for levity and stoniness for dignity at every turn. (April 9)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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