The Boys of Winter

Wilfrid Sheed, Author
Wilfrid Sheed, Author Alfred A. Knopf $16.95 (280p) ISBN 978-0-394-55874-5
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
The assorted writers and editors who live year-round in the Hamptons, looked at askance by the true locals and scornful in turn of the summer people, are a perfect target for satire, and Sheed's new novel gleefully riddles them. There is publisher Jonathan Oglethorpe, deeply cynical about writers yet nursing a secret novel; his nemesis, the macho Waldo Spinks, whose prose is universally condemned but whose books are avidly read; Billy Van Dyne, an exquisite writer whose problem is exactly the opposite and who has a much-lusted-after wife; Ferris Fender, who writes Civil War novels, but whose gay Southern gentility just may be a pose; and gruff Cecily Woodruff, whose theme is heartbreak among Park Avenue matrons. Locked into the winter blues, this unlikely group is dragooned into a summer softball team that eventually gets to play a visiting Hollywood group, with disastrous results. Much of what Sheed has to say about the vanitys and deviousnessof writers and publishers is laugh-out-loud funny ("" `Sales conference,' I say, using the basic publishing excuse. Nobody knows when we actually hold the buggers, so you can use the alibi all yearour version of the splitting headache.'') The laughs turn a little sour toward the end, in an oddly grating denouement, but until then the book is a constant fizz of delight. BOMC alternate. (August 7)
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