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This Book Has Heat’

Now we are back in New York, at the end of a four-hundred-page swirl and whirl of language and people and bits of business, bomb blasts and jukebox music—and Morton Feldman with his thick glasses—and “‘Larry Zox, Larry Poons, Larry Bell, Larry Clark, Larry Rivers, and Larry Fink. And they’re all talking to one another!’” So much New York, so much Seventies, such bursting-apart-at-the-seams liveliness! What a splendor of invention! These passionately alive and not believable characters! Heat without heart. Such an abundance of life and liveliness and language! It’s a glorious novel Rachel Kushner has written with heat but without warmth. Maybe that’s a new kind of novel.

The end, the final pages. And we’re back in Rome. Learning why the Allies bombed the Cinecittà film studios during the war. And, look, we’re in the Saarinen TWA terminal at JFK, which makes Sandro think of Brasília, built with T. P. Valera’s rubber-tapping money. And now Sandro thinks about Talia, who talked like Sylvia Plath and looked a little like her. And now we’re with Reno waiting below Mont Blanc for Gianni to reappear, as the lights of Chamonix come on and snow falls and night falls.

What’s this book interested in? It’s interested in being made into a movie.

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