owes a gre at deal to Vladimir Nabokov’sLolita ...
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The Daily Review, Wed., Oct. 20
A character refreshingly free of redeeming qualities
REVIEWED BY EMILY LANDAU
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
The midlife crisis, a period of anxiety brought on by the passing of youth and the looming spectre of death, has long been embedded in the cultural consciousness.
Since Toronto-born psychoanalyst Elliot Jaques coined the term itself in 1965, it has become an absurd image in popular culture, conjuring a tragicomic vision of a sad sack in a toupee, leering at younger women from behind the wheel of a phallic sports car.
The Bourgeois Empire, by Evie Christie, ECW, 111 pages, $18.95
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Indeed, the novel owes a great deal to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita – like Humbert Humbert, the unrepentant Jules presents his underage lover as a hyper-sexualized, precocious siren who lures him into her snare of iniquity.
But it also owes a great deal to Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint in its frenzied, confessional tone and candid consideration of male sexuality.
Unlike Humbert and Alexander Portnoy, however, Jules is not plagued by his erotic obsession, but rather by the perceived stasis into which his life has settled. He complains that his family life has become static to the degree that it is thrusting him toward death, the ultimate standstill.
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Emily Landau is a writer and reviewer in Toronto. She has yet to experience a midlife crisis.
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