The Arrangement Author:Elia Kazan "The Arrangement" is a novel for those who rejoice in the rare experience these days of getting hooked by a master storyteller. — The hero (antihero) of this narrative is a highly successful Los Angeles writer and advertising executive born Evangelos Arness, now known as Eddie Anderson, and bylined Evans Arness over his magazine pieces. That he h... more »as many names is significant since Eddie, at 43, hasn't a clue to who he really is. He appears to be a valued member of his firm, with a bank account, a big house and a swimming pool. He appears to be the husband of Florence, a terribly nice woman even though she thinks of marriage as a panel discussion of Hesse and Camus.
For Eddie there is an insane split between appearance and reality. He is smothering to death behind his mask of "the man who has everything." His whole life is a series of phony arrangements: his marriage, his work, his sexual escapades, his friendships.
He finds a temporary antidote to the disease in Gwen Hunt, one of the most riveting characters in recent fiction - untamed, primitive, all instinct and gutter shrewdness. She is never accompanied to bed by specters of guilt or remorse or other culturally induced complications that might interfere with the pure animal ecstasy of sex. But it takes more than Gwen to save the tiny flicker of life left in Eddie. It takes two attempts at suicide, a crushingly merciless self-examination, a complete abandonment of the American dream and a voyage through the past. He totters, staggers, eventually marches through a series of wild, crazy and oh-so-human adventures toward that sensation he has never known - the feeling of being a man on his own, independent of the judgment of others, secure in the knowledge of his own worth.
One may dislike or disapprove of Eddie, but nobody can deny his humanity. He is at the mercy of his gonads and hormones as well as of his conscience and the social gentilities. He is never a bore. He has no self-pity. He doesn't disguise his son-of-a-bitch qualities. He has a great sense of irony. He is often funny. By the end of the book he has achieved what is most needed on this shaky planet - a new working model of a human being.« less