The Great Equalizer

Rick Borsten, Author Permanent Press (NY) $28 (334p) ISBN 978-0-932966-69-8
Benny Horowitz, at odds with the world, drops out of college and takes to his bed. But the bed is in his parents' house, where recumbent idleness is forbidden (the more insistently since his father is perennially unemployed), and he's forced either to get out or get a job. He reluctantly begins to work at a rehabilitation center that houses eight retarded men and women who, guided by Benny and other supervisors, cook, clean and launder in preparation for more complicated chores. An unappetizing crew when first we glimpse them, they are soon so livingly and fully differentiated that their speech patterns and sometimes loutish personal habits become disarming. For Benny, one of them is flawless: Nadia the treemaker, who, despite crooked teeth and clay-matted hair, glows with beauty. An epilogue told ecstatically by Nadia reveals the happy outcome of their love affair. The atrocious grammar, endless details, cliche-ridden prose and negligible plotting somehow never manage to disturb the honesty and innocence of this endearing first novel. 10,000 first printing; 10,000 ad/promo. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
Hardcover - 334 pages - 978-1-57962-210-7
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