by D. M. Thomas

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Thomas (The White Hotel) is not only an accomplished novelist, he is also a translator of Akhmatova and Pushkin. His Russian Quartet (Ararat, Swallow, Sphinx) is brought to completion in this straight-out, knockdown farce. The title alludes to no lofty poetic height but rather to the occasion of a summit meeting in Geneva between American President Vince ``Tiger'' O'Reilly and his Soviet counterpart Premier Grobichov. O'Reilly, aged 75, is a onetime movie actor on the other side of creeping senility. Grobichov is an antagonist in full possession of his wits as well as a beautiful ``blond bombshell of a wife,'' young enough to be his daughterand she turns out to be his daughter. The result is sheer slapstick spiked with sado-masochistic spouse-switching and a few bloodcurdling misunderstandings, such as when space-wars weaponry called Independent Unilateral Defence (IUD) is confused with the birth control device. This outrageous vaudeville is shrewd, inventive, witty and at times funny, but it is also puerile, tasteless and repellent. If the cretinous Tiger has much to answer for, so does Thomas himself. First serial to Harpers. (February)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Summit is a ``farcical coda'' to Thomas's Russian trilogy: Ararat, Swallow, and Sphinx . The action unfolds at a summit meeting between the new Soviet premier Grobichov and his aging American counterpart O'Reilly, a former movie actor who suffers from embarrassing lapses of memory. Like so many British humorists, Thomas has a tin ear for American speech; at one point a hardboiled reporter says of the latest Washington sex scandal, ``Everybody's had their smirk and their coarse joke.'' Unfortunately, the humor here is unintentional, and the book's interest seems to derive almost entirely from its relation to the trilogy, tenuous as that is. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch., Los Angeles

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