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Illyria

"Tomcat in Love"

My Review:  Marilyn Knapp Litt © 1998

 

"Tomcat in Love" is a well-crafted and funny novel. The humor appeals to me in a way that his other comic novel, "Nuclear Age," did not. It is unintentionally in synch with today’s headlines. The main character, Thomas Chippering, bends all his efforts to the pursuit of women, from his ex-wife to whoever of the opposite gender is within reach. This results in his public humiliation, which a footnote compares to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

Chippering cannot connect with women and men do not exist for him, leaving him marooned from the rest of humanity. His superficiality would become tiring if it were not for the cleverness of the writing. In spite of his behavior, you want to know what will happen and the story is not predictable.

As with his other novels, there is a connection with Vietnam. Chippering is a veteran and part of the story concerns his service. I wondered whether his state of arrested emotional development might not be attributed to coming of age in Vietnam; as if the war had left him forever a teenager inside.

Readers of his other work may also wonder how much of the work is autobiographical. Despite the boisterous disclaimer, "These characters are wholly invented; these events are wholly fictitious," there are themes from his autobiographical piece "The Vietnam in Me" which he continues to work on here.

I felt no empathy with Chippering, but the moments when he debates behavior that might lead him to understand what is possible, not only between a man and a woman, but between any two human beings, are very poignant. As we feminists say, "He just doesn’t get it!"

He tries to make himself call his girlfriend by her first name, but cannot. I was reminded of Macbeth; "But wherefore could not I pronounce `Amen'? I had most need of blessing, and `Amen' Stuck in my throat." There is comedy in "Tomcat in Love," but much more tragedy.


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Do you know someone in the service?

See www.BlueStarServiceFlags.com

My Vietnam Related Websites:
Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
Dusty's Home Page ~ Poetry and prose by a woman who was a nurse in Vietnam
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet
Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
Battle Dressing ~ The Journey of a Nurse in Vietnam
Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Norwich Terriers Rule! ~ Mine even have their own webcam!!!!
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees
My Flag ~ My September 11 tribute

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City ~  The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!
Milton L. Olive III ~ Posthumous Medal of Honor Recipient

 

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Page last updated August 29, 2004