Robert Lipsyte John R. Coyne, Jr. - Essay

John R. Coyne, Jr.

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Liberty Two has a good] plot, intriguing characters, superb visual qualities that will translate easily into a first rate film, authentic dialogue, a thoughtful and detailed picture of contemporary American society, and above all, with its Watergate analogies, timeliness…. [Central figure Charles] Rice is the quintessential fascist leader—charismatic, pure, single-minded, somehow managing to evoke both fear and adoration. Not an easy character for a novelist to draw. But Lipsyte handles the problem adeptly by telling Rice's story through a troubled and complex narrator, Cable, a figure much like Jack Burden in [Robert Penn Warren's] All the King's Men. A fascinating novel, especially if you believe that a large lumpenproletariat has developed in America, aching for some way to vent its frustrations; that a significant number of Americans have lost faith in their elected officials and in the political process itself; and that therefore the time is right for a man on horseback. If these things were true, and if that man were to appear, one suspects that he'd be much like Charles Rice.

John R. Coyne, Jr., "Books in Brief: 'Liberty Two'," in National Review (© National Review, Inc., 1975; 150 East 35th St., New York, NY 10016), Vol. XXVII, No. 1, January 17, 1975, p. 54.