Abbreviating Ernie

Peter Lefcourt, Author
Peter Lefcourt, Author Villard Books $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-679-43950-9
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
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Daunting as the challenge might be to conceive a tale more farcical than the reality of national manias like the O.J. trial and the mutilation of John Wayne Bobbitt, Lefcourt (Di and I) meets it in this amusing, if uneven, satire. Schenectady, N.Y., urologist Ernie Haas likes to dress in women's clothes and have sex in unconventional places with his Prozac-dependent wife, Audrey. When he handcuffs her to the kitchen stove and suffers a fatal heart attack during their coupling, Audrey is trapped by his weight and his unflagging tumescence. Finding an electric carving knife, she severs Ernie's penis and works her way free of him-only to find that her troubles have just begun. In comes a benevolent burglar, then the cops intent on finding the missing penis, then the voyeuristic reporters, then the crusading lawyers, then the outraged special interest groups and, finally, the movie and publishing vultures, who circle around Audrey's high-profile trial. Lefcourt grafts on a gratuitous romance between rival reporters and closes with an epilogue that is uncharacteristically rote. He builds real suspense throughout Audrey's absurd trial, however, and packs his outrageous narrative with well-aimed zingers and barbed bits of wit. (Feb.)
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