Book by Wagner, Geoffrey
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Nabokov meets the Marquis de Sade in Wagner's (Sands of Valor) latest novel, a sophisticated satire about an aging Italian nobleman who's seduced into a fever of sexual perversion by a much younger American woman. Narrator Attilio Galimberti is a latter-day Humbert Humbert; his paramour, with her rude sexuality and blunt ways, is a twisted Lolita for the '90s, a Lolita back for revenge; and their creator's language is patterned distinctly after Nabokov's: "Of the lashes of the dying swan (eyes outlined in 'panther' black) and her limpid lips, crumbs of milles feuilles clinging to their corners...." reads part of the opening paragraph. Married to an overweight and amorous former Nazi (shades of Mrs. Haze), Attilio meets a beautiful American college student, Leyton Cox, who slowly seduces him into the eroticism of pain-spankings, nipple piercings, whippings. To keep Leyton from returning to the States, Attilio is willing to steal jewelry from his wife, but his deep-rooted pessimism about his new lover proves warranted when she abandons him, destitute, in southern Italy. Wagner's language, though playfully challenging, lacks the incandescence of Nabokov's, and his Attilio lacks the poignancy of Humbert Humbert even as his story misses the dimension of social satire that made Lolita a devastating critique of American vapidity. Still, this works as homage-as well as one of the smartest takes on sado-masochism since the days of Jerzy Kosinski.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Attilio Galimberti is an Italian count in late middle age, a mediocre playwright, and a Joycean critic, when he meets Leyton Cox, a beautiful and seductive American co-ed, in northern Italy in 1975. Attilio's sexual desire remains strong, despite his age and heart condition. He is married to a Wagnerian German woman named Carla, who has a penchant for noblesse oblige and a fetish for corsets. Over the course of the novel, Leyton preys on Attilio's predilection for women's feet and women's behinds, even to the point of compelling him to give her injections on her backside for headaches. After Leyton postpones her return to the U.S., Wagner's novel becomes both a melancholy and a painfully funny story of love and betrayal, involving drugs, terrorists, and sadomasochism. World-renowned as the author of Sands of Yalor, Wagner has written poetry, thrillers, history, and biography, and this is one of the finest achievements of his career. Although reminiscent of Lolita in style, concept, and scope of personal destruction, A Singular Affair is more politically keen, more profane, and lighter in tone but just as cutting and heartbreaking. That on its own should be enough to recommend the novel, but its intelligent and compelling reluctance to cater either to American conservative or liberal aesthetics in favor of a candid plot and cast of characters is wholly admirable. Greg Burkman
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Book Description Baskerville Publishers, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111880909227
Book Description Baskerville Publishers, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1880909227