cover image Exile


William Kotzwinkle. Dutton Books, $17.95 (277pp) ISBN 978-0-525-24526-1

Kotzwinkle's delightful new book seamlessly blends two genres: a sardonic, realistic Hollywood novel and an alluring psychologicalor is it occult?mystery. Middle-aged actor David Caspian, living in the Hollywood of properties, deals, unflappably pushy agents and wickedly self-deprecating chit-chat, begins to have hallucinations. He imagines himself a black marketer in Nazi Germany, trading in everything from nylons to stolen masterpieces. Most disturbingly, when his mind dissolves into this ""fourth dimension,'' his Nazi counterpart appears also to imagine himself crossing over. David's psychiatrist patiently works with him; his wife and daughter begrudge what they consider his desertion; and amidst the wise-cracking, cynical milieu of the cinema's company town, David's concern grows: Where will this lead? There's much fun to be had in The Exile, where Kotzwinkle (Queen of Swords, etc.) takes readers on a journey that is alternately comic and, better still, deliciously creepy. (May 14)