Attempts to Join Society

Richard Thornley, Author Beaufort Books $16.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8253-0351-7
The abortive romantic entanglements of three introverts tormented by desperation, loneliness and uncertainty are spotlighted in this meandering story. In Mallorca, an emotionally unfulfilled young Englishman named Martin meets Billy, a mercurial but mesmerizing American actor. These men begin a sexual relationship following Billy's short, fervent liaison with Diane, an erstwhile actress who supervises a home for recovering alcoholics. Although Billy finds her enticing, he has another girlfriend, and Diane is simultaneously toying with a Boston psychologist studying the reactions experienced by people briefly immersed in sealed water tanks. Martin restlessly heads for New Jersey, where he plummets into dissipation while living with some profligates with an affinity for self-debasement. Martin, Billy and Diane keep questing for happiness, but death eventually overtakes one of them. The loveless, explicitly rendered physical encounters between the characters epitomize this novel's overall distastefulness, and Thornley's dispassionate tone precludes our sympathy for these directionless individuals. The lack of a cohesive plot is another major deficiency. (July 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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