D.A. Ball
August 05, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Kirk Douglas, whose luminous acting career includes some of Hollywood’s most heartbreaking films, has written a geriatric male fantasy. But he’s done it so well that the essential truths of Last Tango in Brooklyn — about aging, love, and indomitability — will leave you inspired and shaken. Ben is 69 (Douglas himself is 77); Ellen is 34. The story of their love quickly becomes a page-turning mystery about a body-harvesting transplant surgeon, but the ultimate enemy is Time, in stark outline like a medieval death figure, coming to get us all. This novel is full of life, joy, macabre comedy, and gentle humor. Hollywood ought to grab it and cast the author in the lead. A

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