Sanity Matinee

Michael Zagst, Author Dutton Books $18.95 (349p) ISBN 978-1-55611-059-7
This ostensible third novel by Zagst (The Greening of Thurmond Leaner; ""M. H.'' Meets President Harding) reads like a first novel lightly retooled to capitalize on the author's modest successes. Al Sprayberry is a young Houston TV ad buyer for a big insurance company. He's living the unexamined life with ex-cheerleader wife Terri. Aside from occasional duels with his mother-in-law or a TV station salesman, Sprayberry's existence is placid as he becomes addicted to Bonanza reruns. After a series of mild trialsdiscovery and treatment of a tapeworm, in-law trouble, worry about Terri's fidelitySprayberry flips out, mildly, at a meeting with company brass and lands in a Texas sanitarium. This is 1975, the year of the movie version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and a strong sense of deja vu invades the narrative. Sprayberry escapes to Mexico with fellow inmate Nero, but this is only mildly diverting, since by this time Sprayberry is a thoroughly irritating character. Terri is an airhead and Al is a self-righteous, early yuppie creep. But then nobody else here is very interesting, either. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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