Dread

Robert Steiner, Author Sun & Moon $15.95 (188p) ISBN 978-1-55713-017-4
Professor of literature at the University of Colorado, Steiner (Bathers, Passion, Quill) has created an elliptical and dreamlike story that is as haunting and disturbing as it is elusive. Divided in two parts, Dread begins with ""Not Keller,'' the story of a pair of couples traveling in Europe and the Middle East. Hilly, the wife of the narrator, leaves him for Keller, a mysterious man in a bathing suit encountered on a cruise ship. The narrator finds himself bound to the loathsome Keller in a semi-paralyzed search for Hilly, who seems to have left Keller and gone native in Cairo. Theirs is an uneasy alliance: `` . . . `Did you know,' Keller said one afternoon, `that when you blow your nose you look into your handkerchief afterwards? Back there in that town, I replied, I saw a hair in your biscuit but didn't tell you. You swallowed it.' '' The second half of the story, ``Keller,'' is told in the first person of a character named Keller, but is it the same man, or is it our first narrator in another mode? (And is Keller a killer, or are we meant to think of kell as in caul?) Mirroring the first section, ``Keller'' offers an alternate text, and can be read in a number of ways. Like Roth's The Counterlife, this novel challenges by taking repeated advantage of the reader's willingness to suspend disbelief. Unlike Roth, however, Steiner's writing can run to turgid prose that belabors its enigmatic purpose. (January 15)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-1-55713-018-1
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