Bennett's Angel

Barton Midwood, Author Paris Review $18.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-945167-15-0
When David Bennett, 21-year-old grad student at an upstate New York college awakes one morning in 1959, he discovers that he has partial amnesia. His efforts to reconstruct the events of the previous night, spent at a bar, while concealing his memory loss from friends, motivates the narrative's twists and turns, including much talk about philosophy, sex and salvation. Did David actually have a homoerotic episode with his Svengali-like friend, Dmitri Leskov? This possibility seems reinforced by David's erotic horseplay with another fellow student, Jimmy Fisher, a closet gay who has just left his wife for a boyfriend. As the befuddled hero pieces together the events that triggered his amnesia, we see his condition as a metaphor for the universal process of forgetting that disconnects us from our hidden impulses and true selves. Leskov, a manipulator who does yoga exercises and prays with Hasidic Jews, emerges as the novel's pervasive presence, imparting wisdom to Bennett even after a tragic event. Midwood ( Bodkin ; Phantoms ) brings pitch-perfect dialogue to his witty profiles of young academics. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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