Sam Bluefarb, Author Creative Arts Book Company $14.5 (304p) ISBN 978-0-88739-164-4
Will Dan Hellman, WWII veteran and professor at a fictional Southern California college, renew his love affair with divorcee Kathleen Berman, nee Ariel, who won and then discarded his love shortly after the war? In 1948, when Dan Hellman met the mysterious foreign student at fancy USC, he was a UCLA student living on a shoestring and the GI bill and thus not up to the standards of Kathleen's exacting, sinister mother in loco, Celia Beyer. Date by date and kiss by kiss, Bluefarb follows Dan's pursuit of Kathy (who turns out to be the daughter of Iraqi-Jewish emigres living in Bombay). Their bitter breakup is the central event of this heartfelt but inexpert debut. The question that haunts Dan and later threatens his happy marriage to another woman is whether Kathy ever loved him. It takes several dull sessions with a therapist to sort out the women in Dan's life, including the whore with a heart of gold who took his virginity and the obliging young war widow he met on furlough in Paris. In the meantime, smiles are radiant; eyes are lustrous; characters smile, laugh or sigh rather than say their wooden lines; portentous paragraphs end with portentous ellipses; events are foreshadowed in thick black strokes or else pop up out of nowhere. Bluefarb clearly has tales to tell, and much of his material (e.g., the lives of Iraqi-Jewish emigres in India, or postwar California's middle-class melting pot) is interesting, even if his craft is never quite up to the task of rendering it. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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