Picks and Pans Review: Memories of Another Day
The novel begins with the death of an old labor leader who has made his way out of the West Virginia coal mines to a mansion in Scarsdale, N.Y, Flashbacks describe his childhood in Tobacco Road land, a The Corn Is Greenish adolescence (young hero is tutored by beautiful older woman) and his union involvement. John L. Lewis, Dave Beck, Tony Pro and Meyer Lansky are characters in the book for whom Robbins' hero sets up an incomprehensible investment scheme. Meanwhile, all the novel's women live only to lure the hero into bed, and at the end his young widow is married to his lawyer by a judge named Paul Gitlin. (Paul Gitlin is Robbins' real-life agent.) Is this an inside joke? It isn't funny. Robbins is a howl only when he writes seriously: "It seemed as if only yesterday I had been there, but yesterday was forever." The jacket calls the author "the world's most widely read and successful novelist." He is also one of the shoddiest. (Simon and Schuster, $10.95)
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