The Keepsake

Lorna Sage writes:

Mona Simpson’s novels are long and loose, and make compulsive reading. She not only writes about obsession, but she passes on the effect with extraordinary directness, almost as though there’s no separate authorial presence in her books at all – art concealing art with a vengeance. A Regular Guy is her third novel, and in it she celebrates her first ten years in the business by surrendering her addiction to ‘I’, and edging just a little further over into fictionality with the invention of self-made hero Tom Owens, the multi-millionaire founder of a West Coast biotech company he christens ‘Genesis’: ‘He thought of himself as a guy in jeans, barefoot in the boardroom.’ But the story’s focus, the person whose point of view we share, even if she is in the third person, is Owens’s illegitimate and disowned daughter Jane. She is ten years old at the beginning, the questing girl in search of Dad whom Simpson always needs to get the show on the road.

(LRB 3 April 1997)

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