The World as It Is

Norma Klein, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-525-24719-7
Klein ( American Dreams ) lays on the melodrama so thickly in her latest novel that readers are likely to be reminded of afternoon soap operas. When the death of her lover sends her into an emotional tailspin, Alix Zimmer checks into the Lionel Nash Institute for Mental Health, where the articulate, rebellious lawyer finds it hard to tell the doctors from the patients. One nurse is addicted to cocaine; the associate director is crude and abusive; his protege, Dr. Stern, who has just killed a patient with a drug overdose, can't choose between his suicidal mistress and his society fiancee. The hospital staff seems so grimly determined to crush the slightest move by a patient toward independence that these characters rarely step beyond the realm of parody. During therapy sessions, Stern torments both Alix and Noah Epstein, a sweet, fragile high school teacher. In the book's only tense scene, Alix escapes from Nash. Poor Noah is not as lucky, but his poignant fate can't save the novel from mediocrity. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-449-21856-3
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