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HOT TYPE Lolita' Redux
Newsday - Long Island, N.Y.
Author: BY MAGGIE PALEY. Maggie Paley, the author of "Bad Manners," has just completed a second novel.
Date: Jun 13, 1993
Start Page: 34
Section: FANFARE
Abstract (Document Summary)

On the fateful day we meet him, a beautiful woman picks him up in a coffee shop at lunchtime and asks him to pose for her in the nude. She calls herself Lady Henrietta (after the cynical Lord Henry in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray"); she paints nude men for Playgirl magazine and also for pleasure. Her enticingly precocious 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, helps her pose her models. Jeremy is smitten at once by Lady Henrietta, but much to his discomfort it's Sarah who flirts with him. "You are a little boy in the body of a man. I am a woman in the body of a little girl," Sarah tells him, explaining why they're suited for each other. (He notes to himself that only her face is girlish - her body is the body of a woman.) Lady Henrietta also introduces him to Laura, a performance artist whose stupid magic tricks are so close to ordinary gestures that only the cognoscenti can tell the difference.

The twists of plot in "Nude Men" are like the events in dreams; what appears absurd on the surface expresses real and urgent fears and longings. Jeremy, Sarah and Jeremy's mother leave Manhattan for a week in Disney World. Jeremy's mother, formerly in the habit of dropping in on him at his apartment to criticize his housekeeping, develops a new quirk in Florida - she makes crude passes at men, explaining, when Jeremy asks, that she's simply treating them the way men treat women in books. Sarah seduces Jeremy, going to extraordinary lengths to do so. Jeremy is enthralled - and horrified with himself. But "Nude Men" is no more a treatise on child molestation than "Lolita" was - though it is concerned with the inexplicability of love.

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