The Catholic

David Plante, Author Atheneum Books $11.95 (151p) ISBN 978-0-689-11788-6
Daniel, the young child of Plante's well-received Francoeur Trilogy (The Family, The Woods, The Country appears as the first-person narrator of this brief but powerful meditation on sexual obsession. The intensely self-conscious Daniel is drawn to Henry, with whom he has a stunning, erotic one-night stand. Henry's significance to Daniel exceeds his role in Daniel's life, and Daniel painfully knows this. The stranger represents an unrealized longing for an ideal: the selflessly beautiful goal Daniel's religion and upbringing have taught him to yearn for but for which they have provided no satisfaction. Daniel sees his self-consciousness as a burdenonly the thing that denies the self can make him happybut it is also self-awareness, and Plante's delineation of Daniel's submergence in himself is stylish and convincing. Words, phrases, ideas are repeated rhythmically; Plante solidifies fleeting moments of thought and feeling as if breaking waves of emotion down into beads of water. Readers who believe that character is revealed only through action will find this novel unfulfilling: little actually happens to Daniel, but Plante's intoxicating ability to show us everything happening within him makes this book compelling and memorable. (March 19)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
Paperback - 151 pages - 978-0-452-25928-7
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