Beautiful Mutants

Deborah Levy, Author Viking Books $17.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-670-82892-0
Levy's feverishly imagined, opaque and dislocated contemporary allegory is set in London and New York, but occupies an anarchic space all its own. Through the agency of cigar-smoking, stump-toothed Russian exile Lapinski--a woman who is evidently a repository of near-extinct Western Soul--the author summons up a series of grotesques, or ``beautiful mutants.'' They include the Poet who shapes conveyor belt hamburgers; Gemma, the avaricious and violent transsexual Banker; and the (tightrope walking) Anorexic Anarchist who announces herself ``an antibody fighting the diseased putrescent body of this society.'' Sitting as a little fictive bird on the Banker's shoulder, Lapinski is derided by Gemma as a creator of mere fiction, a paltry stratagem for survival in the reality decreed by those like the Banker who are truly--materially--powerful. Poet, playwright ( Heresies ) and short story writer ( Ophelia and the Great Idea ), Levy is an audacious writer, but her startling images lack the cohesive thematic structure required for her novella to succeed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1989
Release date: 11/01/1989
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