Any review of a Jack Engelhard novel demands superlatives. My supply was exhausted reviewing BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, THE DEADLY DECEPTION, DAYS OF THE BITTER END, THE GIRLS OF CINNCINATI...
I just now got around to reading Indecent Proposal ...A LEVIATHAN among best sellers.
Normally, I am not moved by best sellers. There is a lowest common denominator quality to them, too often nowadays propelled by hype. I'm exhausted enough as it is.
Then I stumbled over the tripwire that is INDECENT PROPOSAL...not the fifty or so shameless efforts to traffick on this book's name...but the original...the Engelhard book.
No...not the movie. it's hard for me to find fault with any cinema that would pair Robert Redford and Demi Moore...but while full of entertainment value...THE MOVIE IS NOWHERE CLOSE.
Forget The Proposal even...forget its superbly crafted tension and approach-avoidance and moral dilemmas...emotion Engelhard piques to perfection... forget even that....
This book is LIFE...and not just any life...but the life of a man hardly anyone alive nowadays can IMAGINE. Even the most succinct description I can field: "the Last of The Hemingways" sunders on the Reality of Jack Engelhard.....
In this book his name is Joshua Kane...his earliest memories being of a deadly journey across the Pyrenees...mouth stuffed to keep him from alerting the German patrols and their dogs. He rode camels in Sinai and tanks in Golan...and Zodiacs into Lebanon.
He writes speeches for other people at a PR firm, having once tried to become "a real writer". He drives an old Malibu that belches black smoke. He rides to work on a smelly, unsanitary SEPTA bus and then an el with little more to recommend it. He quests after the Faith of King David wearing a shabby blue suit with brown socks....all the while haunted by both quests and memories he couldn't possibly explain.
Except Jack Engelhard does such a good job of explaining as he propels this character and his gorgeous, brilliant and delightfully goofy blond Main Line Philadelphia wife Joan from the Empire State Building to Haifa to the casinos in Atlantic City with the lure they offer of dismal Fate cheated.
Peerless dialogue and graphic action that can and often does bring a tear...and can and often does make you laugh out loud are your constant companions as you travel this road map of the human condition, most likely devouring its wisdom and warning in only two sittings.
Arrogance, humility, hope, lust, hate, poetry, ambition, cynacism, devotion, jealousy.... high rollers and day trippers...true love and grudges from Time Out of Mind...all this is present and captivating within the pages of this fast paced adventure... BEFORE EVEN COMING to the "proposal" and its impact on both the story and true life American Culture.
The adjectives and verbs...the nomenclature of "the novel"...none of them as words and concepts able to contain the peerless story within.
Seek and experience what lies in store as you pass through the gates of this literary nirvanna...and be satiated in mind, body and spirit.
anonymous...for fear of deletion