Rose Theatre

Gilbert Sorrentino, Author Dalkey Archive Press $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-916583-23-1
Almost immediately even the most tolerant and obliging reader may want to put aside this second volume in a projected trilogy begun in Odd Number. However, patient reading will reveal a sometimes witty, sometimes scurrilous look at a parade of characters presented in slivers, generally by way of their physical functions. The prevailing question in this self-indulgently discontinuous, fragmentary, playful fiction is who is doing what to or with whom, and one may require a scorecard to keep track of all the couplings and triplings, the shifting combinations of genders marked by very peculiar tastes indeed. The reader's knowledge of old popular songs is put to the test; and it might help to recall that the ""ruttish'' eponymous Zuleika Dobson who prowls Central Park was last seen in the Max Beerbohm novel; that ``naked, lascivious Emma Woodehouse'' is Jane Austen's virtuous maiden, just as the ``wanton Dorothea Brooke'' engaged in some ``shameless dalliance'' is George Eliot's blameless heroine. The Joyce-enthralled Sorrentino is a talented, clever writer with a nose for the messy lives of some contemporary types squatting on the margins of the arts, and for the telltale detail. Despite his occasional churlishness, he can be amusing and even funny in a waggish way. (November 10)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
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