The God of Mirrors

Atlantic, Author, Robert Reilly, Author, Peter Davison, Editor Atlantic Monthly Press $4.99 (403p) ISBN 978-0-87113-029-7
Oscar Wilde threw himself with dizzying brilliance into the roles of esthete, epigrammatist and lover as if inhabiting one of his own plays. Reilly's polished first novel probes Wilde's consuming infatuation with the cruel, ravishing ""Bosie'' (Lord Alfred Douglas), whose father hounded the incredibly naive Wilde to jail and to ruin. We get some fine, curmudgeonly lowlife here, as well as hothouse portraits from London in the 1890s: Lady Wilde, Oscar's rouged and tippling mother, roars her poetry; Bernhardt dances Salome. Reilly's eye for decor and color serves his subject admirably. The novel's interiors are deliciously tinted, festooned and lined with mocking mirrors in which people glimpse their fates, either gazing narcissistically or obliquely spying on one another. Writing with beguilingly Wildean wit, Reilly fashions marvelous, pointed conversations that readers won't want to skim for fear of missing a line. This is zippy, compelling fare, executed with grace and compassion. February 8
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
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