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Up, Down, & Sideways
     

Up, Down, & Sideways

by Robert H. Patton
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Patton utilizes the strengths he showcases in Life Between Wars (see review above) and works them into a much more assured novel. A 1980s version of the prodigal son parable set in WASPy New England, Up, Down & Sideways might also have aptly been titled Dollars and Sense. It's narrated by Philip Halsey, a decidedly unlikable scion of the old-money Stallses ("My family is an old New England conglomerate, the getting of whose fortune we don't discuss"). A successful investor and womanizer, Philip treats everyone shabbily-clients, colleagues, women and especially his restrained and patient father. In its comic illumination of Philip's upper-middle-class myopia and white-bread depravity, the novel is reminiscent of The Bonfire of the Vanities, though more introspective and with a greater care for character than for sociology. Patton has a delicate touch with metaphor, making the financial language of investment, yield, risk and disclosure resonate with the psychic and moral terrain traversed by Philip. The portrait of Philip's sober, responsible father, who spent a lifetime hiding his Jewish heritage to maintain his acceptance within the bosom of the Stallses, is excruciating. We watch as Philip, a young man of considerable advantages and talent, violating all sense of fairness, squanders everything in an extended paroxysm of debauchery, extravagance and selfishness. Philip is a two-timing lover, an abortion-promoting father ("the sperm was mine") and a thankless child. The story proves humorous as Philip (reader cheering) gets exactly what he deserves and is forced to struggle mightily with issues of identity and manhood and, in doing so, earns some glimmer of humanity and compassion. Patton pulls it all together here, marshaling his considerable talent into a fluid, ironic comedy of morals.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Patton utilizes the strengths he showcases in Life Between Wars (see review above) and works them into a much more assured novel. A 1980s version of the prodigal son parable set in WASPy New England, Up, Down & Sideways might also have aptly been titled Dollars and Sense. It's narrated by Philip Halsey, a decidedly unlikable scion of the old-money Stallses ("My family is an old New England conglomerate, the getting of whose fortune we don't discuss"). A successful investor and womanizer, Philip treats everyone shabbilyclients, colleagues, women and especially his restrained and patient father. In its comic illumination of Philip's upper-middle-class myopia and white-bread depravity, the novel is reminiscent of The Bonfire of the Vanities, though more introspective and with a greater care for character than for sociology. Patton has a delicate touch with metaphor, making the financial language of investment, yield, risk and disclosure resonate with the psychic and moral terrain traversed by Philip. The portrait of Philip's sober, responsible father, who spent a lifetime hiding his Jewish heritage to maintain his acceptance within the bosom of the Stallses, is excruciating. We watch as Philip, a young man of considerable advantages and talent, violating all sense of fairness, squanders everything in an extended paroxysm of debauchery, extravagance and selfishness. Philip is a two-timing lover, an abortion-promoting father ("the sperm was mine") and a thankless child. The story proves humorous as Philip (reader cheering) gets exactly what he deserves and is forced to struggle mightily with issues of identity and manhood and, in doing so, earns some glimmer of humanity and compassion. Patton pulls it all together here, marshaling his considerable talent into a fluid, ironic comedy of morals. (May)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The grandson of old blood-and-guts himself, Patton (The Pattons, LJ 3/1/94) is enjoying the simultaneous publication of his first two novels. In Up, Down & Sideways, Philip Halsey breaks with his father, David Holscheimer, just as David broke with his father. Demanding his inheritance and dropping out of college, Philip embarks on spectacular financial and sexual escapades. After losing all to find himself, the prodigal son returns to the home office of his family's trust and settles in as a responsible family man. Patton's first-person narrative is rich with comic episodes and wry phrasing, and his picaresque tale provides insight into recurring problems between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and lovers of all descriptions. Focusing on a homicide and its aftermath, Life Between Wars is more somber. With a large cast of strangely intertwined charactersa Vietnam veteran who seeks revenge for a fragging incident, a prep-school student trying desperately to lose his virginity, a retarded stable boy who emulates John Wayne, an addled octogenarian who hunts miracles from the roof of his mansion, and a homosexual painter who heals in the throes of his own illnessit is also more expansive. These residents and visitors on tiny Penscot Island comprise a confused but still functioning community. Despite an often diffuse story, Patton shows how unconventional but honest affections can displace vengeance. Both books are recommended for public libraries. [For a biography of Patton's father and grandfather, see Brian M. Sobel's The Fighting Pattons, reviewed on p. 102.Ed.]Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
Kirkus Reviews
First-time novelist Patton continues his impressive debut with a droll send-up of Wall Street, as he follows the fortunes of 24- year-old whiz-kid Philip Halsey, who, having dropped out of college at the age of 20, has parlayed a relatively small stake into a major portfolio. In the space of a fairly brief narrative, played out against the lurid backdrop of the go-go '80s, Philip blithely betrays friends, makes and loses considerable amounts of money, juggles the affection of several women, and ultimately comes out not only wealthier but wiser. Patton nicely mingles some sharp satire of Wall Street antics with an understated tale of a confused, not entirely pleasant, but very bright young man figuring out the nature and purpose of his life. Assured and entertaining.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781877946912
Publisher:
Permanent Press, The
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Pages:
156
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 8.68(h) x 0.66(d)

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