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Beautiful Somewhere Else: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, May 31, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Alien abductions and a magician's vanishing acts figure as heavy-handed metaphors for the desire to escape from oneself in this first novel. Paul Brickner, 38, and his much younger girlfriend, Nadia, retreat to Cape Cod, where they hope to forget the wounds of Paul's two failed marriages and Nadia's obsessed ex-boyfriend, Fred. No such luck. Fred shows up almost immediately, raving of "lights" and "the Others," stories that are eerily familiar to Paul. Paul's drug-and-therapy-addled aging rocker friend, Tommy, and Nadia's angry girlfriend, Jennifer, also crash the couple's vacation. Soon everyone's psychological issues dominate the story: Tommy's oppressive father, Nadia's absent one, Jennifer's sexual neediness, Fred's fixation on Nadia, and above all, Paul's relentless guilt over deserting his second wife after a traumatic miscarriage. When a hurricane and its attendant chaos descend on the Cape and Tommy disappears, Paul loses himself in a psychedelic dream world, pursuing his friend, the visions of the Lights and an escape from his tortured memories. Paul is researching the escape artist Sung Soo, and allusions to this contemporary of Houdini who mysteriously disappeared punctuate the narrative. (Sung Soo also may have witnessed the same "lights" and "Others" as did Fred, Paul and Tommy.) Policoff sets up an unsubtle parallel between Sung Soo and Paul's vanishing acts, and both characters' stories come to abrupt, rather bewildering endings. Though a few affecting moments enliven the novel, a repetitive emphasis on obvious emotional scars and on UFO-like signs and omens renders the book too melodramatic.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In his first novel, Policoff shows a flair for pithy characterizations that serve to limn the zeitgeist. Thirty-eight-year-old Paul Brickner is bent on obliterating the memories of his disastrous second marriage through a relationship with lovely, winsome Nadia, who is 20 years younger. During a much-needed vacation on Cape Cod, they are visited by a series of old friends, including Nadia's unstable ex-boyfriend, Fred, who shows up uninvited, speaking of UFOs and his undying love for Nadia; Nadia's best friend, Jennifer, a multipierced wild child who seems jealous of her friend's new relationship; and Paul's oldest friend, Tommy, who, despite his anarchic rock-'n'-roll lifestyle, is still wrestling with his relationship with his father. Amid generational and personality clashes, the weather turns wicked as a hurricane approaches. Unfortunately, as soon as Hurricane Bob hits, the plot implodes in a series of incomprehensible scenes that involve the Lights, the Truth, and the Others. Nevertheless, pre-Bob, Policoff displays vivid descriptive skills and a low-key, subtle sense of humor, especially evident in his characterization of gloomy Paul. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It's all here.
"Beautiful Somewhere Else" is readywhip magic, a lovely chatterbox of a book filled with delicious surprises.
Reminds one of the last scene in Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" where Oskar Werner (as Montag the Fireman) reads from "David Copperfield" and jump-starts his own emotional thawing-out.
The memories flood in, cue Bernard Herrmann, and suddenly you're in another country.