cover image The Long, Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora

The Long, Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora

Michael Nesmith. St. Martin's Press, $24.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-19296-9

Hey, hey, he's a Monkee, but is he a writer? Readers will wonder as Nesmith turns his talents to fiction with a polemical New Age novel about a mysterious beauty who enchants wherever she goes. When Nez first hears a tape of Neftoon Zamora at a friend's house in New Orleans, he becomes so enchanted with the bluesy sound that he follows it to its source in New Mexico. There he encounters the many legends surrounding Zamora--whom some see as a man and others as a woman--as well as Neffie, a captivating girl whom he initially mistakes for Zamora but who is in reality (or one reality) part of an elaborate scam. Pursuing his fantastic quest, Nez becomes increasingly enthralled by Neffie and by her Utopian hometown, an ancient Anasazi city, self-sufficient and hidden from the world in the side of a canyon. Unfortunately, Nesmith's pedestrian observations and gee-whiz tone undermine his wacky premise, which he plays out at a YA level of sophistication. In addition, the book sometimes devolves into opinions held together only loosely by the artifice of plot. Nez pontificates digressively on everything from ""how regimented and bureaucratic names are"" to the blatant commercialism of the how-to-succeed industry. Will Nesmith the writer match the success of Nesmith the Monkee? Even readers who agree with his opinions--e.g., that poets should be more important than football players; that the Net can be a dangerous thing--are unlikely to find themselves whistling ""I'm a believer.""(Nov.)