War Babies

Frederick Busch, Author New Directions Publishing Corporation $15.95 (114p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1103-1
National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award-winner Busch ( Absent Friends ) here offers a short, gory Gothic novella centering on the goings-on of two fashionably thirtysomething lovers: Peter Santore, a dull-witted American lawyer who is in England trying to unearth information about his father (an American who, during the Korean War, turned informer); and Hilary Pennels, whose own father, a war hero, was perhaps betrayed by the elder Santore. Also figuring in the novel's none-too-plausible plot is a kinky former Sergeant-Major and Korean POW who, we are told at every opportunity, has rotting teeth, terrible breath and weepy eyes. He drinks, toasts ``absent friends'' and narrates war tales famous for their blood and guts. In this slim volume, Busch fails to reach his usual standard of imaginative pathos leavened by humor. Even his dialogue palls: remarks Pete of Vietnam War veterans, ``They had a really bad time,'' to which Hilary replies, ``Didn't we all.'' (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 114 pages - 978-0-8112-1476-6
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