Lying Together

D. M. Thomas, Author Viking Books $17.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-83218-7
Concluding the quintet that began with Ararat , Thomas sets his writer-narrator, Don Thomas, in London at a meeting of Writers Internationale. Thomas and three Russian friends who collaborated on earlier books published in the West under the Englishman's name meet each night to improvise another novel. As the conference proceeds, Thomas worries over the adequacy of his fictive contributions; his former almost-lover Masha confesses to a lesbian relationship with a venerable Bolivian poet; the flamboyant novelist Victor Surkov is arrested for raping a woman journalist; and Sergei Rozanov, recently released from a mental hospital/prison where he developed shamanistic powers, revives a dead man in a restaurant. Given equal time is the improvised novel, featuring poet and factory worker Anna Charsky and her husband, actor Dmitri. Anna, who is reading the much-quoted correspondence between Richard von Kraft-Ebbing and a masochistic servant girl, plays an elaborate game of impersonation on Dmitri. The novel in the reader's hands is as aimless and faltering as the fictional one. Intimate scenes are graphic and decidedly un-erotic, with an obsessive focus on menstruation. The plot is strangled in self-conscious reflections on fiction--either facile or heavily belabored. Most welcome is Thomas's avowal that this volume completes the series. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
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