Julie

Maurice Valency, Author New Amsterdam Books $17.95 (268p) ISBN 978-0-941533-44-7
The opening pages of this romantic drama depict New York in the late '40s with wistful grace, as a city of double-decker buses and beautiful spring days, where love might burst into bloom at any moment. They promise a clarity and emotion that the rest of this reminiscence never delivers. Young, pretty Julie Steier is the focus of passion for three men: the narrator, a Columbia Unversity professor; his friend Ashby, a mercurial artist; and Ashby's illegitimate son Alex, a teenager who arrives one day from San Antonio without warning. Title nowithstanding, Julie is a minor character, and a sketchy onealthough the narrator frequently testifies to her irresistibility, the secret of her appeal remains elusive. The author pays considerably more attention to Ashby, the eponymous hero of his 1984 novel. Arrogant and self-absorbed, Ashby puts all of his energy and commitment into surrealist canvases but is uncommitted as a lover, selfish as a friend and utterly confounded as a father. He, like Julie, holds the narrator in thrall, but readers are unlikely to share his interest in a pair of characters so remote and finally insubstantial. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/28/1991
Release date: 03/01/1989
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