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Bereavements

Richard Lortz

22 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 093296608X / ISBN 13: 9780932966087
Published by Permanent Press, 1981
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Bereavements

Publisher: Permanent Press

Publication Date: 1981

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

Edition: First Edition - may be Reissue.

About this title

Synopsis:

"Mother Who Lost Son Seeks Son Who Has Lost Mother," read the advertisement in The Village Voice.

Those who replied, the curious, the disturbed, the opportunistic were writing to Mrs. Harrington-Smith Evans, one of the ten wealthiest women in the world whose only child, a teenage boy, had died a mysterious death.

Pretentious, theatrical, wantonly self-dramatized, increasingly deranged in her grief, Mrs. Evans indulges in all the extravagant expressions of bereavement that money can buy: a seamless glass coffin; an embalming secret the pharaohs of ancient Egypt must have dreamed of; and a tomb so costly and exquisite, Shan Jahan's ghost surely groaned in its envy.

Finally, the ad: in retrospect so silly and embarrassing she needn't kill herself to die. But if she found him, a surrogate son might ease her grief, forestall her encroaching madness.

From the many respondents, her choice narrows down to three: Angel, an illiterate boy from New York's Spanish ghetto; Martin, a handsome, fatally ambitious young actor; and disarming Bruno, barely eighteen, an aspiring novelist who writes her perfumed letters in an absurd 19th century prose.

The Rivalries, the passions, the bizarre events that follow this strange entourage include murder, suicide, and a "haunting" like no other in this world or the next.

As he did in Lovers Living Lovers Dead, the author, tongue-in-cheek, mixes "comedy and ancient terror" in a lyrically layered style that critics call "a frightening lightness of tone...as eerie as the plot itself." But Bereavements also has its serious side. As its final pages chill us with the supernatural-as-metaphor, it is clear we are nearing the end of an extraordinary love story: one not eros but agapeone that distinguishes movingly between a love that is love, and a love that is Love.

Review:

This intriguing novel explores the mysterious and even occult events set in train by a pathetic notice in The Village Voice: Mother who lost son seeks son who has lost mother. To the pathos of loss is added the glamor of the mother's extreme wealth and the quixotry of her wishing to choose a surrogate for her dead child from those who answer the ad. One might expect her to become a victim, but wealth and unsatisfied maternity give her an unpredictable ruthlessness. The tale is both artful and compelling. Lortz demonstrates that Americans are ready to contribute to the heretofore British genre of the educated thriller. --Booklist

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