Picks and Pans Review: Pinball

updated 03/01/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/01/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Jerzy Kosinski

A composer of serious music named Domostroy hasn't been able to create any new music for a decade. He lives as a keyboard musician, picking up odd jobs in seedy clubs. A woman lures him, with money and kinky sex, into hunting for a famous rock star who has never been seen—only heard on records. Kosinski has filled his novel with peculiar, heavy-handed comments on contemporary mores. He writes at times like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up news items and using them to make points. For instance, he has a character resembling Jack Henry Abbott, who serves time in jail, writes some moneymaking songs, is released, but turns violent and kills again. The parallel is distracting. There is also a lot of extravagant, silly sex. Kosinski's major mistake, though, is probably that he fails to make his characters believable. Their actions are without reasonable motivation. The title is a clunky metaphor for seeing life as a game. (Bantam, $14.95; paper $7.95)

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