“A Hall of Mirrors” by Robert Stone

stoneIt’s a Sixties novel written in unadorned, straight-ahead prose.  The style is in the school of Hemingway, with flavors of Uris and Mailer, Ruark and O’Hara. Like the kind of gritty novel that used to bring men and their sons into a mid-century newsstand’s paperback section, where they could get books for less than a buck. Those days are long gone, so for me there’s an element of nostalgia in reading this novel ( from 1964). It reminds me of being a teenager in simple summertimes when multimedia distractions didn’t exist, and there we were with just a book, reading into the late hours, totally bought in, unable to put it down.

The characters include alkies and scarred women, hucksters and dangerous zealots. It’s a New Orleans of political crackpots and attendant injustices, as things purportedly were in that Oswald era.  The principle characters Rheinhart and his woman Geraldine are two drifters who end up in the Big Easy and happen to meet at a fascist-styled work factory. Their modus operandi is to do most anything to keep a roof overhead and survive.