The Hermit of 69th Street: The Working Papers of Norbert Kosky

Jerzy N. Kosinski, Author Seaver Books $19.45 (529p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0611-7
This ``autofiction'' by Norbert Korsky, a 55-year-old Holocaust survivor from the Poland-like country of ``Ruthenia,'' is presented by Kosinski as the ``working papers'' of a deceased writer whose life and times mirror Kosinski's own. Set in New York and Hollywood, the story is hobbled by its form, a relentless homage to Vladimir Nabokov. Almost every page is studded with footnotes and documentation, some consisting of newspaper leads and some culled from imaginary sources. Quotes from a panoply of writers are strewn throughout the text. It is as if Kosinski is obsessed with proving that in the hands of a gifted writer anything can be given meaning and relevance. There is much mystical hocus-pocus over the recurrence of the number 69 throughout these pages; the conceit includes incessant asides to the printer and the reader, signed N. .K and J. K. Kosinski makes thousands of allusions. In a reference to the Charles Manson murders, for example, he calls Sharon Tate Ophelia and the other victims Rosencrantz and Mr. and Mrs. Guildenstern. This is a clever tour de force, but difficult to define as a novel, not to be compared with The Painted Bird, Steps or Being There for sheer quality of writing. It's a self-conscious demonstration of technique, delivered with a wink and a smirk. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 635 pages - 978-0-8217-3333-2
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