Of Desire

David Helwig, Author Viking Books $19.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-82592-9
Helwig's ( Old Wars ) newest work is a bitter, poignant catalogue of one family's griefs and grievances. The disappearance of Ross Riggs elicits soul-searching among his two middle-aged sons, Arnold and Donald; his second wife, Sandra; and his granddaughter Julia. Arnold is a civil servant who has published poetry, lost the wife who gave his life balance, and found himself attracted to one of his daughter's friends. Donald is a wealthy slumlord who has developed a skill in tattooing and an obsession for the woman who lives above the tattoo parlor, in spite of his needy and very sexual relationship with his wife. Sandra, the woman for whom Ross walked out on his first wife, Lorraine, and their children, believes that he committed suicide in an attempt to reunite with Lorraine, who has since died. Julia is an artist with a burning anger toward her father for the selfish way she believes he treated her mother. A shadow over all their lives is cast by the memory of Lorraine, apparently the transmitter of the family madness, which all seek to obliterate in sexual excesses. Helwig's landscape of multiple interiors holds few fireworks; he succeeds, however, in depicting the brothers' gradual understanding of how past events reverberated through the years. The novel again demonstrates Helwig's grasp of character and the nuances of psychological insight. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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