BOOK REVIEW – GORE VIDAL – MYRON 1974 Abacus Press.
Direct sequel to the controversial and highly satirical Myra Breckinridge. Myron Breckinridge is recovering from the forced sex change that took away the effects of his original sex change into Myra. He actually likes being Myron, but his Jeckyll & Hyde struggle with his alter ego continues, as Myra keeps taking over his personality. Worse, she has somehow pushed him (and therefore herself) back from Watergate era Washington, to 1948, through the medium of television, trapping Myron on the set of the making of the film Siren Of Babylon. Myron wants to get home, but Myra keeps taking over, and so all of Hollywood knows he is a transvestite / transsexual. Myra also intends to make many other men into transsexuals, and she has figured out how to make the necessary cocktail mix of hormones and steroids to effect such operations. She plans to make films so sexy and sensational that television stations won’t dare show them, and therefore TV will go out of business and the golden age of Hollywood will be maintained indefinitely. Her plan for this is a film in which a leading US actor has a sex change, though not just in character – she plans to film his actual metamorphosis.
When Myron’s personality asserts itself, he tries to escape to the mid-1970’s, and he knows it can be done, as he has seen Richard Nixon being thrown out of 1948 after he has tried to escape there to get away from the Watergate scandal that was about to destroy him.
Myra’s interference with the film, (creating shots of subliminal nudity when the actors are in freeze frame) are discovered. She has a rival who plans to ruin cinema and promote television. They fight, and Myra is trapped in the body of a leading actress of the day, a role she uses to promote her insane plans.
The entrapment of Myra in another body seems to free Myron who gets back to 1974, happy that Myra failed to change anything for the worse. After all JFK is president again, and Marolyn Monroe still looks lovely. Funny, sexy, and gloriously irreverent, though not quite as surprising as the astonishing prequel.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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