The Governor's Mansion

Robert Laxalt, Author University of Nevada Press $18 (240p) ISBN 978-0-87417-251-5
The empty showmanship of U.S. political campaigns, the glitz of Las Vegas in the 1960s, the seamy alliance of the Mafia and top politicians and the aspirations of a tradition-bound immigrant family converge and collide in Basque-American novelist Laxalt's engrossing story. The concluding volume in a family saga begun in The Basque Hotel and continued in Child of the Holy Ghost, it follows down-to-earth lawyer Leon Indart in his successful run for the Nevada governorship on a conservative Republican ticket; his attempt to rid the state's gambling industry of mob infiltration; and his narrow defeat in a race for the U.S. Senate. Leon's younger brother Pete, a journalist who becomes his aide, narrates the story, providing a witty, devastating look at a political process rife with voter apathy and ignorance, patronage, favor-swapping, dirty tricks and slick packaging of candidates. The two brothers' foray into politics causes confusion and a sense of loss in their white-haired father, a sheepherder clinging to Basque ways, and their supportive, pampering mother. Laxalt spices the novel with cameos of Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover, mobster Moe Dalitz and odds-maker Jimmy the Greek. His honest, clean prose is a pleasure to read. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/1994
Release date: 10/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-0-87417-308-6
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