Present Time

David Harrop, Author Story Line Press $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-934257-40-4
Turning 50, Oliver Ranney, an executive for a cultural philanthropy, quits his Manhattan job and beats a Thoreauvian retreat to Connecticut's woods to paint. This second novel (after Given His Way ) by veteran editor and nonfiction writer Harrop sensitively portrays a man who, realizing his life has been one big self-delusion, turns to art as a bulwark against mortality. Ranney's midlife crisis comes with the usual complement of familial discord. His embittered ex-wife Lucy is remarried; his son Galen, a reporter, is contemptuous and inaccessible, much like Ranney's own absentee father, a painter who hopped around Argentina and Europe; Rita, his pregnant daughter, is determined to be a single parent over the objections of her macho boyfriend, who has recently given her a black eye. The only unconvincing character is Ranney's lover Vivian, an art gallery owner who seems an idealized abstraction of his erotic fantasies. Permeated with a lush feel for both urban chaos and nature's unspoiled beauty, this wry, sometimes comic narrative of self-discovery, ends on a tragic note. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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