author of the fascinating literary tetralogy "The
Jerusalem Quartet" (novels with elements of fantasy),
died August 3, 1995, at a hospice in Riverdale, the Bronx.The
cause was prostate cancer. He was 62. Survivors include
his companion Ann Pasanella, two daughters, two grandchildren,
and four brothers and sisters.
Whittemore had a life as interesting as his books. After
graduating from Yale in 1955 with a degree in history,
he spent three years in the Marines, received US government-sponsored
training in languages at a school in Yokohama, Japan,
then joined the CIA - for whom he worked between 1958
and 1967, stationed in Japan and Italy. Following a brief
stint with the administration of New York mayor John Lindsay,
he turned to writing. His first novel, bizarre wartime
chronicle Quin's Shanghai Circus (1974), received favorable
comparisons to Thomas Pynchon. He went on to live in Jerusalem,
where he wrote most of the "Quartet": Sinai
Tapestry (1977), Jerusalem Poker (1978), Nile Shadows
(1981), and Jericho Mosaic (1987).
The Cleveland Plain Dealer aptly described his work as "comedy, horror, wit, tragedy, erudition, and breathtaking
imagination... romantic, as great fantasy dressed in truth
must always be."
© 70 /
LOCUS October 1995