Radical Surgery

Wallace Markfield, Author Bantam Books $21.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-07423-9
Markfield's ( To an Early Grave ) satire of de-Stalinization presents a charismatic Pavel Gavrych, risen to power in the U.S.S.R. and reaching out to the U.S. in amity in 1993. As a new American president agonizes about dismantling 50 years of a wartime economy, his powerful aide Harry Porlock devises a scheme to have the terminally ill commit heinous terrorist acts ostensibly directed by Gavrych. The book ends with a new red scare in the U.S. and a re-Stalinization of Russia. Among other inanities, the hyperbolic political takeoff features the nameless president's internal dialogues with JFK, who sports a stage-Irish brogue; a first lady as a sex-crazed twit; a precocious nymphet as part of the president's inner circle. With the president's understanding of American as ``the hoi, the polloi, the louts and lumps, eating and drinking their fill at some great American trough and moving in multitudes from sea to shining sea,'' this tale falls somewhere between Joseph Heller and Richard Condon. Mostly it just falls. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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