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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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01/10/2004 Archived Entry: "Book review: Christopher, by Allison Burnett"

Christopher
by Allison Burnett
Publisher: Broadway (2003)
ISBN: 0767913337


Review by Julia Hendricks-Mueller


BK Troop is a brittle and damaged trust fund baby of moderate means, ringed around with rapid-fire aphorisms and empty wine bottles, who only leaves his back unguarded for the occasional strapping young man of negotiable virtue in the twilight world of Manhattan in the early eighties. He's also an unlikely Sancho Panza to Christopher, the comely and terribly straight vision next door he's determined to have as his next conquest.

Unfortunately for his romantic aspirations, BK's pursuit runs headlong into Christopher's mother, a flirtatious maternal black hole who is both a bad aspiring poetess and the only psychiatrist in history not to have undergone her own analysis (Christopher's father, a geneticist, drank himself to death, a detail which has my vote for grace note of the year). Christopher, in the wake of a broken marriage to a suitable nonentity, is dutifully building himself a world not to matter to, a world BK can make a place in if he plays his cards right.

From his hard-won and tenuous vantage point in the outskirts of Christopher's life, BK (who's not as bad as he thinks he is) stalks Christopher (who's not nearly as good), his predatory instincts gradually giving way to courtly love and the carrying of spears on behalf of Christopher's somewhat compromised virtue and his own. Christopher follows a year of BK's poignant slapstick indignities as he pries himself into the world of his reluctant gentleman not-completely-fair and finds something to value more than he does himself.

I've always thought Sancho deserved his own fable, and this one is true and witty and unsparing and very wise. I hope BK comes back some time. I'd like to see him again.

***

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