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Library JournalEugene Eyestones, a postmodern Miss Lonelyhearts, writes a sex column (derived from his wide-ranging reading) for the Boston magazine Quink. Eyestones lives a solitary life, lacking eros, listening to classical music or jazz on his collection of old 78s, and feeding his cat, Nook. Eventually, he falls into the messy, supercharged emotional world of his editor's ex-wife, Laura Warholic, who provides material for his column as well. (Her gums seemed "almost as red as that wide mouth smeared like a fellatrix with so much lipstick that it seemed in its excess to parody a leer of invitation, in its psychofelinistic color…suggesting that her kiss would never leave.") Eyestones yearns for someone to love, but though he sets his erotic sights on Rapunzel Wisht, he immerses himself so deeply in trying to save Laura from herself that he never can climb the walls of Rapunzel's castle. Like Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts, Eyestones—an idealist in a broken-down world—succumbs to his own pessimism and idealism. Theroux's playful use of language, his often savage jabs at the publishing industry, and the wacky denizens of his and Laura's world carry the novel along. It's probably too long by 300 pages or so; Laura's insecurities and manias as well as Eyestones's vacillations eventually get tiresome. Yet Laura Warholicis the work of a manic genius, and Theroux's first novel in nearly 20 years will satisfy his fans who have been waiting for it.
—Henry L. Carrigan Jr.