The novel focuses on an American ex-pat in Mexico who wants to get a little extra income to supplement his savings, so he talks to another ex-pat, a decadent aging beauty who suggests an artist workshop. They line up a couple of artists to teach, rent a rundown failed hotel for the summer, gather a staff of inexpensive indolents, and lure a varied cast of characters to the workshop. Students include a retired career military man who likes to paint landscapes where battles were fought; a newly married couple on a honeymoon, a recent widow who is beautiful but who seems to have given up on life; a player who’s out to conquer more women in his scientific study of the species; an artist working low-paying jobs; a high school teacher with a hunger for sex; a couple of rich Texan girls; an ad man who suffered a mental breakdown; an architect whose firm is breaking up because his partner’s wife has fallen in love with him, and a couple of older women who paint as a hobby.
That’s pretty much the plot, too. They come together, meet, interact, pair off somewhat, and then they leave.
With a MacDonald book, you kinda wait for the death or crime as a pivotal moment, but there isn’t one in this book. I’m not sure there’s even a pivotal moment, although a party has some dramatic impact on the people and turn their lives a bit.
But it’s an interesting book, and one filled with MacDonald’s writing. So if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy it more than if you’re not, but it’s worth a read. Also, you should be a MacDonald fan. Thank you, that is all.
Books mentioned in this review: