Relative Successes

A. L. Barker, Author Chatto & Windus $0 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7011-2839-5
James Jessel was an unappealing child, to his parents, his teachers and himself. His 16th summer, spent in the south of France with schoolmate Waldo Klein, has provided him with the most powerful memories of his youth, all centering around the voluptuous, sensual, idle Mrs. Klein. James and Waldo maintain their acquaintance and 50 years later, after Waldo disappears, James returns to Antibes with his wife, searching for his friend and for meaning. James's memories are revivified but they disclose no secrets. He meets a disillusioned young hitchhiker; his wife picks up a strange couple; and he does see Waldo, working in a seedy circus. That Waldo has returned to this place brings James some consolation. This elliptical novel by a veteran British author offers little in the way of story but is marked by acute observations and ruthless unsentimentality. (March 13)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1984
Release date: 01/01/1984
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