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November 22, 2019 | Rome, Italy

Changed Man

By | 2018-03-21T18:27:28+01:00 January 1st, 2006|Recent Reviews|

By Francine Prose

Harper Collins, 2005. 420 pages.

Ironic and satiric, Prose’s comedy of manners dissects a very American, contemporary dream of easy betterment.

Protagonist Vincent Nolan, inspired by recreation drugs, deserts his buddies in ARM, the violent Aryan Resistance Movement. Fleeing their sure revenge and following his calculated safety plan he arrives in the Manhattan offices of World Brotherhood Watch. There he offers damaging ARM revelations, while aiming at a reformed-racist PR role with Holocaust survivor and WBW founder Meyer Maslow.

Vincent claims he’s truly a different man since he read Maslow’s book on “changing one heart at a time.” Flattered, Meyer’s glad to buy that. But has Victor changed? As answer, both Vincent’s Arm and WBW supporting cast prefer a good illusion to fragile reality, with hilarious results. But since so many of her characters here do manage some kind of life change, the author gifts them with a happy, though wickedly double-edged end. Lightly, it hints at a future price to pay for self-delusion.

About the Author:

Patricia E. Fogarty
Former Rabelais scholar Patricia Fogarty honed her skills in the New York City publishing world. She lives in Rome and has been the magazine's book columnist for a decade.

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