Book of Vices

Robert J. Hutchinson, Author
Robert J. Hutchinson, Author Riverhead Books $18 (280p) ISBN 978-1-57322-006-4
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Hutchinson, a former Hawaii bureau chief for the Hollywood Reporter and a self-anointed connoisseur of vice, offers this delightful little send-up of William J. Bennett's The Book of Virtues. Skipping merrily through a forbidden catechism of the Seven Deadly Sins--Lust, Avarice, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride, Envy and Anger--this captivating array of verse and prose moves from pre-Christian Greeks and Romans down through the Renaissance in France and England and on into the moderns. Represented are pearls from Greek historian Xenophon (c.430-354 B.C.), Dickens, Mark Twain, Woody Allen, Shakespeare, Rabelais, Flaubert, Tom Wolfe, Groucho Marx, e.e. cummings and Oscar Wilde, to mention a few. Lust is given top billing and afforded almost a third more pages than each of its six less intriguing sisters. Beginning with an erotic selection from Boccaccio's Decameron and ending with a ``zipless'' fantasy from Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, the anthology is a standard reference for those with the urge to brush up on the finer points of sin. Illustrations. BOMC and QPB selections. (Apr.)
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