Light

Seymour Epstein, Author Henry Holt & Company $18.45 (282p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1067-1
George Light, the eponymous protagonist and narrator of Epstein's accomplished, thought-provoking novel, is appealing despite the faults he confesses to and reveals. George is a restless man whose career in TV has never had his full commitment. At 50, he is temporarily working in Denver, amicably separated from his wife, who has remained in Manhattan. They have a beautiful daughter, a college senior, who seems to have attained sexual maturity while Light's back was turned. Women's behavior mystifies Light. ``Men and women still stare at each other across an abyss,'' he thinks; it's an age-old situation exacerbated by the new morality of the '80s. But in his case the abyss is deeper than Light suspects: eventually he discovers that his assumptions about his wife have been false, and he experiences some rueful insights about ``the ultimate mystery of selfhood.'' Having skimmed over the surface of life, Light finally learns ``something permanent and serious.'' Epstein's cool, intelligent, witty prose is beautifully controlled. He gracefully underplays the symbolism of George Light's surname, letting the narrative itself shed light on his misperception of feminine concerns. It's time this author, who also wrote Leah and September Faces , had a higher profile among discerning readers. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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