Carnival Desires

Mark Lindquist, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (282p) ISBN 978-0-87113-360-1
As one character in Lindquist's ( Sad Movies ) second novel remarks about himself and his sidekicks, ``Self-destruction is a national passion. And, hey, it's something we're good at.'' The lives and loves of a rich, young film-industry coterie in Los Angeles fill this mostly banal cross between The Big Chill and Bright Lights, Big City . Following the funeral of a suicidal friend who apparently suffered from a more severe case of boredom than their own, the crowd--Mona, Merri, Willie, Bick et al.--throws a party, then another and another. We watch as they make messes of themselves and vow reform; drugs, drinking, driving and name-brand cigarettes populate brief chapters, with time-outs for impersonal sex. The protagonist is 28-year-old screenwriter Bick, who breaks his pledge to retire from the fast lane when a high-paying rewrite job leads to an affair with a beautiful, self-destructive actress. The affair sours, Bick decides to leave L.A.--and returns the very next day to the comfy profligacy of his cronies. Lindquist's hip, lean dialogue and litany of dutiful debaucheries amuses, along with flashes of behind-the-scenes Hollywood. But the novel, like its 20-something cast, floats on surface ennui. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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