Margot Mifflin
January 19, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

PICTURING THE WRECK Dani Shapiro (Doubleday, $22) In narcissistic moments, many of us fantasize about the tragic circumstances of our own funerals. The roseate post-mortem vision of narrator Solomon Grossman provides the coda for this gripping but quixotic novel about a psychoanalyst who cripples his career and loses his family by sleeping with a patient. Thirty years later, Grossman rediscovers his son, and a perfectly implausible reunion follows. Why would a son embrace a father who shows up drunk to meet him and refuses to explain his absence of three decades? Picturing the Wreck is tightly written until the end, when the plot skids from coincidence to coincidence, and Grossman’s paternal impulses turn out to be as much the product of a needy ego as a tender heart. B

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