superdevious and ultrasophisticated.nIn fact, it’s a reality of dimwits immunento rational argumentation.nFabian’s last conquest is a youngnmillionaire heiress who, supported bynher patrician father, implores the old,npoor, plain Fabian to marry her. Fabiannrefuses, but graciously agrees to spendnone night with her. Between these firstnand last conquests Hollywood’s sexualnRobin Hood scores other dazzling victories,namong them a schoolgirl and onensuicide by hanging. The technique ofnthe common, plain, poor old man whonconquers young, beautiful girls is generouslynmade clear. Fabian discoversnthat a girl named Stella is not white, butnan albino black, or as Fabian puts it, an”white Negress.” Evidently, Kosinskinhas taken this story from the pulp ofnthe 30’s, where such discoveries werenthe stuff of heartbreaking melodramas:n”She glanced around, panic in hernmovement and eyes at the danger ofnsomeone overhearing. Her teethnlocked; for a moment she was beyondnspeech. Then she whispered, ‘Nobodynknows it. Nobody. That old man justnlooks at me as if he knew something.nHe knows nothing. Nobody knows.nNobody.'”nSince Fabian is the only custodian ofnthe unspeakably dangerous secret, Stellanis now in Fabian’s power even thoughnFabian magnanimously promises thatnthe bloodcurdling secret will die withnhim:n”Stella looked at him, her lips tremulous.nHer eyes brimmed with tears.n’I don’t want to be alone,’ she said.n’Can I stay with you for a while.^’ Thentears spilled over, streaking herncheeks.n’You can. But whether you stay ornyou don’t, what I know will stay withnme. Only with me,’ he said, puttingnan arm around her.”nFabian holds his sway over Stella evennafter she marries, and Kosinski employsna joke which was stale and hackneyednS6inChronicles of Culturenlong before he was born: Stella’s husbandnreturns unexpectedly from a businessntrip and catches them in bed. Thenonly difference between Kosinski’s textnand this 100-year-old joke is that hisntext is humorless, insipid and pointless.nKosinski’s text often reads like, anmedical pamphlet on sexual relations.nIn a “mass sex scene” a “little bald man”nwith a “howl stifled in his toothlessnmouth” forces a quickie with a beautifulnyoung stranger—and the woman isnecstatic. In the property Utopias ofnSoviet hacks, everyone is an altruistnand willing to share his property. Innhis sex Utopia, Kosinski’s infantilismnhas gone infinitely further than anynSoviet hack in the pursuit of Utopia:nbeautiful young women ecstaticallynaccept the sudden sexual advances ofnlittle bald toothless old men they havennever seen before.nL he novel is larded with empty yetnconvoluted verbiage which is evidentlynmeant to impart to the author the airnof a belles-lettres philosopher a la Nabokov.nBut Nabokov’s verbal exercises,nif not always profound, were at leastnlinguistically funny, while Kosinski’snverbosity is witless and dead. Insteadnof saying that Fabian was afraid, henbursts into the following:n”He could not tell whether his fearnwas a response of his flesh, in revoltnagainst a threat to the dominion ofncharacter and will; or whether fearnhad usurped the very province of thatncharacter and will, exposing furthernsome critical lesion in their authority.”nAnd here is a discourse on love:n”The two of them were now equallynlovers, a habitat of flesh bound to thenrevelation of that flesh through eachnother, assenting to its mercy.”nTime magazine cited (in dead earnest)nFabian’s contemplation of a dead horsenas an example of profound philosophy:n”What would have happened to thenhorse, Fabian wondered, if, throughoutnits life, instead of relying on itsninstinct, the animal had sought supportnonly from its skeleton?”nNo wonder Time was fascinated.nLike Nabokov’s books. Passion Playnis written in “foreigner’s English.” ButnNabokov’s “foreigner’s English” isnflexible and poetic, while Kosinski’snmerely makes his dry platitudes clumsy,nartificial, incomprehensible. “She wouldn. . . kiss her [lesbian partner] on thenmouth, the caprice of her own theatricalityna license for the bluntness of thenneed.” Not every misused English wordnbecomes Nabokovian just because itnis misused; stilted or opaque wordingnis not made profound or beautiful justnbecause it is quaint, and not all artificialnEnglish is, ipso facto, literature or philosophy.nI have a feeling Kosinski knowsnit. But why should he admit it.-* If hendid, Women’s Wear Daily, Kosinski’snultimate oracle on literature, wouldn’tnask him for interviews. Dn”The noncommittal stance of officialdom is the matrix ofnthe grassroots organizations that have proliferated at annamazing rate throughout America during the last decade.nWhen those who bear the designated responsibilities for anynsegment of the population refuse to take a stand on matters ofngrave importance to their constituents, then conscientiousncitizens are forced to take matters into their own hands.”n—from Persuasion At Work, May 1980nnn