Frobisch's Angel

Doris Rochlin, Author Taplinger Publishing Company $16.95 (331p) ISBN 978-0-8008-3058-8
In her first novel, Rochlin tries to enter Philip Roth country, but doesn't quite carry it off. Frobisch is a 51-year-old, divorced, alienated Jewish accountant. He has the Midas touch in reverse: everything turns to dross. While in Rome during a papal election, Frobisch has a vision of an angel who tells him, ""Do good. Stop messing up.'' Thereafter, Frobisch has flashes of precognition (it is 1978, and he knows, for example, that the new Pope will die within weeks) and a sudden, overwhelmingly painful sense of compassion. He is in constant contact with his adversarial ex-wife Sadie and at war with his daughter, while at the same time his closest friend, Father Paul, tries unsuccessfully to help him. In the end, while Frobisch is given an opportunity to put his life back together, he is still looking for some mysterious ``magic'' to transform his existence. The question remains: is the angel just hallucination, symbolizing his inner turmoil? Although Rochlin is a talented writer, her story is too skimpy and her narrative tone not sardonic enough to carry of this fairly uneventful character study. (March 18)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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