This strenuously Dunleavyesque exercise in flamboyant comic excess is, for all its hectic drama, insufficiently conceived and crafted to be rewarding. Wimmer ( Baseball Fathers, Baseball Sons ) alternates his narrative between the accounts of two friends: Seamus Boyne, a brilliant Irish artist, who equates his reputation as a painter of provocative nudes as equal to that of Turner's a century before, and whose determinedly bizarre behavior furnishes a labored parody of the eccentric artist; and Gene Hagar, a 31-year-old Long Island Jew who has inherited a family pest-control business but harbors dreams of writing fiction in Dublin as he had planned (fruitlessly) seven years earlier. The tirelessly self-dramatizing Boyne is preparing for suicide in his Jaguar on an Irish railway crossing (meanwhile spewing out long mental speeches to his idol, Turner), when he narrowly misses being killed by what he takes to be an assassin's bullet. Telephoning Hagar for help, he flees to London, where a retrospective of his art is planned. Dramatic scenes ensue on and in the Thames, in and out of taxis, and at the Tate Gallery, where the lovely, sexy Ciara appears, the subject of Boyne's lascivious nudes and for whom Hagar has pined since his idyll in Paris. Hagar must come to grips with the gulf between his adolescent aspirations and reality. Likewise, the author has yet to comprehend his craft and find his own mature voice. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989 Release date: 03/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.