Picks and Pans Review: The Summer of Katya
A young Basque doctor, just finishing his medical training, is hired as an assistant to a middle-aged roué of a physician who serves a village in the south of France. It is early summer, 1914, just before World War I breaks out, and an addled scholar with beautiful twins, a daughter and son, 26, has moved into an overgrown estate not far from the village. The young doctor is fetched by the daughter to tend her brother, and the doctor begins to fall in love with her. Gradually he discovers that the secrets in the family's past are shocking. He has read Freud and spent part of his internship in a mental hospital, so he tries desperately to help. The ending is as astonishing as it is tragic. Trevanian is the pen name of the author of such entertaining novels as The Eiger Sanction and Shibumi. Rumor has it that he writes his books on a farm in New England, where not even his neighbors know that he is a best-selling author. He is good at genre books, and The Summer of Katya has all the lingering flavor of one of those rich French melodramas of doomed love. (Crown, $12.95)
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