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Straitjacket and Tie
     

Straitjacket and Tie

by Eugene Stein
 

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Stein bares the special trials and tribulations of life in the New Age in this sexy, sardonic, and slightly surreal tale of a young man whose sexuality and sanity are up for grabs.

Overview

Stein bares the special trials and tribulations of life in the New Age in this sexy, sardonic, and slightly surreal tale of a young man whose sexuality and sanity are up for grabs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Television writer Stein's first novel finds humor and pathos in challenging relationships as it explores various forms of alienation in 1980s New York. Bert Rosenbaum is 16 when his older brother Philip suffers the first of many psychotic breakdowns that will test the bonds of their close-knit Bronx family. Philip listens intently to the static between radio stations, decodes secret personal messages from rock albums and intermittently confines himself to bed as he cycles in and out of reality. After graduating from Princeton, Bert works in Manhattan for the sewer department and later pursues an MBA. Philip moves back and forth to California, but Bert finds still more insanity in his building: one neighbor screams dementedly through each night; the children in another apartment have befriended space aliens, who later contact Bert as well. Bert also grapples with his emerging bisexuality and ambiguous relations with friends and co-workers, while Star Trek reruns and Bob Dylan's music provide the cultural background noise. Stein's narrative is lively and his characters generally credible, but a lack of subtlety and overuse of tired pop-culture references dampen both the humor and the insight of this debut. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Bert Rosenbaum of the Bronx progresses from high school to Princeton to the Sewers Department to Columbia's MBA program. Born too late for the counterculture, Bert and his brother are committed Dylan fans who retain their parents' socialist ideals. Bert's gay awakening--in the era of Reagan, AIDS, and the rebirth, then horrible declension, of the Yankees--is remarkably well adjusted but not painless. His life unfolds in a series of subplots; the most interesting one, involving two very sexy characters, is resolved in a bitter twist barely halfway through the story. The book's comic poignancy is flawed only by a persistent space-visitor storyline whose cutesiness will be familiar to readers of Douglas Adams. Yet Stein redeems his apparently random employment of sf surrealism by connecting it to the book's true theme: the heartbreaking schizophrenia that afflicts Bert's older brother. Ultimately, this first novel is a successful meditation on resilience and family love. Recommended for public libraries.-- Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555833589
Publisher:
Alyson Publications
Publication date:
06/01/1996
Pages:
277
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.65(d)

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