cover image Betty Blue: The Story of a Passion: A Novel

Betty Blue: The Story of a Passion: A Novel

Philippe Djian. Grove Press, $17.95 (341pp) ISBN 978-1-55584-112-6

Djian's five novels have won acclaim in Europe, and the present one was a bestseller later adapted into an offbeat film. It's not likely, however, that this tedious and melodramatic on-the-road novel of the most formless kind will have much impact here. The story revolves around the love affair between a drifter with an unpublished novel to his credit and a beautiful girl with itchy feet who, for no discernible reason (Djian doesn't seem to believe in reasons), goes from such eccentricities as pouring paint over a car and torching a house to self-destructive madness. Her passion-driven lover follows her from place to place (none identified), flattered by her faith in his literary talents and ready to try his hand at practically anything to keep the affair afloatplumbing, housepainting, pizza-making, selling pianos and, finally, armed robbery. The lovers fail to inspire credibility, or even interest, the events smack more of fantasy than reality and every so often the generally sloppy prose sinks to the level of ""A smile spread over her face like an atomic bomb.'' Here is one disciple Kerouac would have disclaimed. (April)