Was It Something I Said?-C

Valerie Block, Author
Valerie Block, Author Soho Press $22 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56947-109-8
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Watching yuppies negotiate the perils of love in the 1990s has rarely been so much fun as in this comedy of Manhattanite manners from first-timer Block. Barry Cantor is a gentle, gently neurotic marketer of salad dressing who talks too loudly and tells bad jokes. Justine Schiff is an obsessive lawyer who interrupts a romantic embrace to hang up her clothes and gets four calls a day from her mother. Their amusing meeting on an airplane that seems headed for a crash is just the first of many hair-raising encounters in a novel that, by documenting every twist, speed bump and roadblock on the relationship highway, deftly mingles mundane details (yeast infections, dirty underwear on the floor) with fleeting moments of delirious happiness. Block is a meticulous chronicler of the preoccupations of 30-something Jewish New Yorkers (a demographic group that seems to hold surprisingly general interest these days), and she mines with equal flair her characters' petty paranoias (she worries about his hair loss; he resents her secretary) and their substantial fears (she thinks he'll turn into his father; he's afraid she cares more about her job than about him). When the well-deserved happy ending is at hand, we quietly rejoice, because if these two can make it work, there's hope for all of us. (Jan.)
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