When not taking classifieds for a weekly advertising giveaway, 20-year-old Nelson Collingwood is looking for love in this bantering tale of fatherhood, deceit and identity. Nelson grew up never feeling fully accepted by his adoptive father, Jonas Aldous Collingwood, the gray-bearded ``Hemingway of Westchester,'' N.Y., who raised him and his sister, Narcissus. When Jonas's publisher asks him to write a memoir of his purported experiences fighting alongside antifascist resisters in Italy during WW II, the stage is set for a cascade of revelations about Jonas's buried past and Nelson's biological parents. The surprises, which come fast and thick in the last 50 pages, make this self-conscious, occasionally amusing novel worth reading. With the gift of witty observation that marked his first novel, The Plagiarist , Cheever mixes suburban satire with social comedy, family tragedy and youthful passions, related in a flip, sometimes self-deprecating narrative voice that often catches the reader off-guard. This is ultimately a moving story about the bonds of tenderness, concealment and cruelty that forge a family. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994 Release date: 01/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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