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Split Levels

Split Levels

by Thomas Rayfiel

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Depicting suburbia as a split-level hell, first-novelist Rayfiel offers narrative sound bites that mix crime, coyness and sociological criticism. At about age 30, Allen Stanley returns to the childhood home from which his older sister vanished nearly 20 years before, where his grief-stricken mother died in an accident a few years later and where his father has just been found dead in the bathtub, his wrists slashed. The story is advanced by schizophrenic conversations, often sexually driven, that Allen carries on with the boy who cuts his father's lawn, with the promiscuous, hard-drinking woman across the street and with the teenage girl he meets in the library. When not waxing existential, Allen fitfully pursues rumors afloat in the unnamed community that link his father to the disappearance of his sister and of young girls seen in dimly lit bedrooms of the house. Allen's tentative investigation occurs in brutally truncated scenes and with dialogue that turns gothically arch between breaths. Rayfiel picks up convention towards the end and delivers a watertight solution that ties up his thematic and dramatic threads. But it's a classic instance of too little too late. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Who killed David Stanley? A retired professor and widower, father of a daughter who disappeared at age 15 and a son who left for college and never came back, Stanley was found in the bathtub of his split-level suburban home with his wrists cut. But there are suspicious bruises on his wrists, initials written in blood on the bathroom ceiling, no razor blade to be found, and those old rumors about Stanley's sexual proclivities. When Allen Stanley returns to bury his father, he becomes the target of circumstantial evidence and the instrument for revealing long-buried secrets. Screenwriter Rayfiel's first novel will appeal especially to Twin Peaks fans and film buffs for its quirky contemporary surrealism and cinematic style; it's a deft handling of the dark side of human nature, without a stock character in sight. Recommended.-- Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L. , Va.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
0.46(w) x 8.00(h) x 5.00(d)

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