asides into obscure, incomprehensiblenmutterings.nLooking fen-Mr. Goodbarwasntolerable—at best— because itnhad a plot, and a unique one atnthat. You knew Terry Dunn wasngoing to end up murdered, evennif you hadn’t seen the movie first.nA murdered main character usuallyncompels some sentiment andnserious consideration. The plotndid wonders for what turned outnto be a merely pathetic character.nBut August lacks any device thatncan engender concern for thenprotagonist, and ranting, quirkynhistrionics do not fill the gap.nDawn starts seeing Dr. Lulunafter a car accident, which wasnthe result of self-destructivenurges after a disastrous aflair withnher previous psychotherapist.nShe has recently had an abortionnthat goes by without commentnother than to announce the fact.nLater, Rossner has Dawn exhibitnsome anger over the fact that shenwas exploited by the boyfiriendnin this act of murder, but there isnno moral dimension to the book,nand abortion serves Rossner onlynas the gimbals on which she hangsnthe only good metaphor in hernwritings so far, “she threw herselfnonto the bed and curled up onnher side like a fetus someone wasntrying to abort.”nDawn Henley is a Freudiannbonanza. Her artistic motherncommitted suicide when shenwas six months old. Her artisticallyninclined, homosexual fatherntook care of her for a whUe. Onenday he and his lover go off for anjaunt on the yacht, leaving thenstx-month-old to be checked onnby a 10-year-old neighbor boy. Ansquall comes up, drowning thenfather. The neighbor boy doesnnot remember until the next daynthat the Henley infant is alone innthe beach house. Naturally, Dawnnthereafter is repelled by vomitnand feces (both of which coverednher when she was found in a statenof shock the next day).nThis could be a possibility forna TV show, as evidenced bynChronicles of CulturenRossner’s infuriating habit ofntelegraphing the solutions to hernFreudian puzzle, as if she werenafraid the reader won’t follownthe clues unassisted. But TVnstandards are still too high. WhennDawn regurgitates in Dr. Lulu’snoffice (literally, for a change) andnthen exhibits a morbid phobia ofnany emotional subject that willnmake her choke and possibly repeatnthe indiscretion, one is initiallynappreciative of her goodnmanners, then, after being remindedntwo or three times, suspectsnthere is a key to her past innthis. But by the time of the flash­nback to Baby Dawn rolling aroundnin her excretions, the element ofndiscovery is gone. All that remainsnis unpleasantness, and meaninglessness,nwhich perhaps is Rossner’snpoint. She wouldn’t be thenfirst author to embrace this selfcontradictingnraison d’etre.nDawn also has a fear of beingnabandoned by loved ones, fear ofndesertion being a basic componentnof all Rossner heroines.nDawn’s “parents,” a lesbian auntnand her bisexual lover, raise hernin a small Vermont town, whichnamounts to a dream scenarionstraight from the White HousenConference on Families aboutnchildren raised in “alternativenfamilies.” (The traditional familynin Rossner’s books fares rathernpoorly, too.) Naturally, then,nDawn depends a lot on her psychiatristsnfor emotional support.nThe title of the novel comes fi:omnDavra’s special terror of August,nthe month that Manhattan psychiatristsntake off for Fire Islandnand points east, stranding theirnpatients in a motistrous, fiveboroughnday-care center.nLooking for Mr. Goodbariad,nat its heart, some moral conflict.nTerry Durm’s world was morallynschizophrenic, drawn between annauseating normality that wasnstill identifiably “clean” and thenhellish assuagements of concupiscence.nButEmmeline 2adAugustnare merely well-researched diatribesnabout the ambiguous statusnof women in society contrastedn•with their personal yearnings forndignity. And where Emmelinenwas Upton Sinclair wed to BarbaranCartland, August is Freud cohabitingnwith Erica Jong. Whatevern”choices” Rossner’s charactersnmake, they are nevernmoral ones, but simply assertionsnof will that are either suppressednby the dominant male orntriumphal in the way a childnstrides off from home with anbundle on a stick. DnApocalypsenRight Now?nChristopher Hyde: The TenthnCrusade; Houghton Mifflin; Boston.nThe book of Scripture generallynknown to Catholics as the Apocalypsenand to ftotestarits as Revelationnhas long posed difficultnproblems for most Christians.nFilled with fantastic monsters,ncryptic references, and scenes ofncataclysmic destruction, suffering,nand judgment, this segmentnof the canon provoked decadesnnnof debate in the early Churchnover its validity before finallynbeing accepted as authentic. Fornliberals who don’t take muchntime now to contemplate John’snawe-inspiring vision—or anynother part of the Bible—ChristophernHyde has written a newnApocalypse sure to win their approval,none that will take its placenin their neo-Bible right next tonthe sacred texts of the Four neo-nEvangeUsts, Vidal, Doctorow^,nVonnegut, and Hawkes, and ofnthe ready-to-wear Apostle Mailer.nFor though Mr. Hyde the novelistn(soon to be St. Hyde the Revelator)noffers the usual disclaimernas to the ficticiousness of his charactersnand events, he is clearlynoffering a book of dire prophecy;nSnce, publisher’s flack’s warningnthat this brutal tale’s “mostnchilling aspect is its imminentnlikelihood.” Very little mysterynsurrounds the loathsome beastsnin this book: they are Bible-totingnparamilitary fanatics who infiltratenthe government and violentlynterrorize aU those not deadnset against “the decadence ofnAmerica,” “the liberal-intellectualnminority,” and “socialism, communism,nhomosexuality, Judaism,nfree sex, pornography, abortion,nand any kind of sin.” John’s horridncreatures challenged the spiritnand imagination more deeplynthan these cardboard lunatics,nbut the intended audience v^^iUnnonetheless break into rapturousnhosannas over them because ofnthe not-so-subtle linkage to thenNew Right, conservatism, neoconservatism,nJerry Falwell, bomagainnfiindamentalism, and RonaldnReagux Illuminated manuscriptsnof the Antichrist with the mysticninscription RR cannot be farnbehind.nTwo features of the ancientnApocalypse not imitated by Mr.nHyde are the New Jerusalem andnthe fruit of the Tree of Life. Butnthen, his redeemed soul vs^illnprobably settle for HarvardnSquare and royalty checks fromnHoughton Mifflin. (BC) IHn