Megan Harlan
October 04, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Biggest Elvis

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
P.F. Kluge
genre
Fiction
We gave it a B

A trio of American Elvis impersonators — a young studly Elvis, a middle movie-years Elvis, and a flaccid strung-out Elvis — achieve godly status among the prostitutes who work the American military clientele in a sleazy club in the Philippines. Leading the group is ”Biggest Elvis,” Ward Wiggins, a roly-poly, mild-mannered ex-English professor who earnestly believes that he and his younger cohorts channel Elvis’ spirit. A love affair between Ward and a bookkeeping hooker is interrupted by the prostitutes’ abrupt disappearance and possible kidnapping into slavery. Can the Elvises save them and make a statement about American capitalist imperialism to boot? P.F. Kluge’s sorta funny, sorta heavy plotline is enlivened by the rotating narrators. But Biggest Elvis‘ audaciously overwrought style can descend into tiring hyperbole (much of it Elvis related), which distracts from otherwise intriguing characters finding hope in wild and tawdry circumstances. B

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