cover image Love-Fifteen


Antonio Skarmeta. Latin American Literary Review Press, $15 (126pp) ISBN 978-0-935480-82-5

Skarmeta is best known in this country as the author of the novel Burning Patience, the basis of last year's popular Italian movie, Il Postino (The Postman). But readers who enjoyed the intimacy and conscience of the film be forewarned: Love 15 is quite different. Instead, this is a vapid, lusty little intrigue illustrating the soulless lives of the very rich and famous. Dr. Raymond Pabst, a famed American sports physician is in the throes of a middle-age crisis when he becomes enamored of Sophie Mass, a barely 15-year-old German tennis superstar--and his patient. The publisher calls this the ""Latin American version of Lolita."" In rough outlines, there may be some resemblance between Mass and Nabokov's heroine; between Pabst and Humbert Humbert; and between Diana von Mass (variously called Countess or Duchess) and Charlotte Haze. Here, Sophie is blatanty lascivious--though Pabst does a lame job of refuting her advances. Occasionally, Skarmeta does offer some insight into lost rich folk in a materialistic world. But as for his main subject, there is none of the subtlety or beautiful language necessary to raise it beyond a slightly sordid tale of a man playing doctor. (Oct.)