November 12, 1979 12:00 PM

by J. P. Donleavy

With his fine Brooklyn-Irish flair for the English language and a colorful, clumsy hero who falls in and out of some of the best beds in England, how can Donleavy miss? Somehow he does. Schultz, his American-Jewish protagonist, is obsessed equally with producing a stage hit and seducing every female who crosses his path. Donleavy throws in everything but the unreliable British sink—two rich backers whose real interest in the show is kinky, two gorgeous lesbians and the inevitable gifted Irish lunatic. As he proved 24 years ago in The Ginger Man, Donleavy can write funny sex scenes and near aphorisms—”Expect the worst and that’s what you’ll get, only it will be much worse.” Yet the slapstick quandaries never rise above the comic, and it all just goes on too long. (Delacorte Press/ Seymour Lawrence, $10.95)

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