Kicking

Leslie Dick, Author City Lights Books $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87286-282-1
Dick ( Without Falling ) squanders her sharp and intelligent style on a self-absorbed protagonist, whose recollections of her youthful relationships with a small group of people form the framework of this novel. Connie, a wealthy American who lives in London, witnesses a suicide, which abruptly triggers reminiscences about the band of bohemians with whom she once lived in a house in the English countryside. She thinks particularly about Michael, an artist and ex-junkie, and about her then-best friend, Ruby. Connie then reaches even farther back to her memories of high school when she originally met the pair, and of her own insecurity and cocaine abuse. Dick manages to shove in a lot of meaningless details about the '70s and '80s, like Michael's imitating the Clash's Joe Strummer by wearing a Red Brigades T-shirt. On the other hand, personal details often reverberate, as when Connie is shocked to learn Michael has quit smoking because she has such strong memories of the many ways he used to hold a cigarette. ``Juvenilia . . . I can't imagine liking that work now,'' Michael says disparagingly about a mobile he had once made for Connie. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
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