69 Babylon Park by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This 1962 Whittington novel is not as sleazy as the front and back covers suggest. Instead it is psychological realism set in married student housing at a trailer park and it reminded me quite a bit of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road which had been published a year earlier. The beginning also has a bit of a David Goodis vibe as it reminds me of the beginning of The Wounded and the Slain. There's also a passage where protagonist Phil overhears students talking about his car-hop wife May that made me think of Raymond Carver's story "They're Not Your Husband" from Will You Please Be Quiet, Please. In that story a husband overhears guys in a diner making unflatteringly comments about his waitress wife. And in the same vein as those other works, 69 Babylon Park is a literary styled novel about a marriage disintegrating under the weight of expectations. The dialog got a bit long in places but there are some really choice scenes of confrontation and humiliation. If it hadn't been marketed as pulp I could see this Whittington rubbing elbows with the books by Yates and Carver.
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