Sex and the City

Candace Bushnell, Author
Candace Bushnell, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $21 (228p) ISBN 978-0-87113-642-8
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-446-67354-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-60024-283-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-030-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60788-840-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-60252-794-2
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-986-6749-63-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-59483-217-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 289 pages - 978-0-446-61768-0
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-2-253-15212-5
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-2-226-10964-4
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""We're leading sensory saturated lives,"" announces jetsetting photographer and playboy Peter Beard in a roundtable discussion of menages a trois, setting the tone of opulent debasement that suffuses this collection of Bushnell's punchy, archly knowing and sharply observed sex columns from the New York Observer. Prowling the modish clubs, party circuit and weekend getaways of rich and trendy New York society (most of whose denizens are identified by pseudonyms), Bushnell offers a brash, radically unromantic perspective. She visits a sex club and dates a Bicycle Boy (""the literary romantic subspecies"" whose patron saints are George Plimpton and Murray Kempton). But in most chapters she keeps to the sidelines, deploying instead her alter-ego Carrie (like the author, a blonde writer from Connecticut in her mid-30s), whose sweet if feckless romance with Mr. Big--a nondescript power player--serves as a foil for the hilarious, unsentimentalized misadventures of her peers. These include model-chasers like Barkley, 25, a painter with the face of a Botticelli angel whose parents pay for his SoHo junior loft, and Tom Peri, the ""emotional Mayflower,"" who ferries newly dumped women to higher emotional ground and is then invariably dumped. The effect is that of an Armistead Maupin-like canvas tinged with a liberal smattering of Judith Krantz. Collected in one volume, Bushnell's characters grow generic, but in small doses these essays are brain candy that will appeal equally to urban romantics and anti-romantics. (Aug.)
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