The Other Hand Clapping

Marco Vassi, Author Permanent Press (NY) $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-932966-78-0
For no discernible reason, except possibly the banal search for ""real identity,'' bookstore owner Larry, the 37-year-old protagonist here, enters the life of Zen meditation with a vengeance. Obsessed by the Zen mystique, he virtually abandons all else, including his ravishing wife Eleanor, an aspiring actress. He becomes ``quietistic in bed,'' moving from ``shared eroticism into solitary meditation,'' and from that inert state into absolute celibacy, a condition Eleanor doesn't much care for. Suddenly evidence of her infidelity mounts and along with it Larry's jealousy. But wait: Is it fact or Zen hallucination? Does Eleanor actually leave Larry and move in with a rich mobster who can advance her theatrical career, or is it all a ruse, an exercise in theater? What was meant as enigma and mystery soon dissolves into trickery, a sequence of puzzles within puzzles. Some signs suggest that Larry will kick Zen and return to sanity and the Scrabble games of the couple's good old days. Vassi has a considerable underground reputation as an ``erotic'' writer established over a dozen such novels. In this one, an attempted departure from that mode, his control of a tautly told tale slips badly and ends in sheer silliness. (November)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
Paperback - 120 pages - 978-0-7592-9605-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-1-56129-046-8
Ebook - 118 pages - 978-1-4804-9617-0
Paperback - 118 pages - 978-1-4976-4081-8
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