Polite Sex

James Wilcox, Author HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (279p) ISBN 978-0-06-016356-3
Tula Springs, La., the locale of Wilcox's four, highly praised comic novels ( Modern Baptists ) is present here only as a reference point in the story of two young women, girlhood friends in Tula Springs, who come to New York City in the '70s. Just out of Smith and longing both for an acting career and a chance to lose her virginity with a husband who will worship her for having saved it, Emily Brix settles instead for a tedious job in a Times Square movie production company and a marriage of convenience. As her life slowly slides downhill, Emily remains adrift, out of place, unsure of who she is and what real love might encompass. Clara Edward, once third-runner-up in the Miss Louisiana beauty pageant, comes to the city in flight from an abusive fiance. Aspiring only to remain unbruised, Clara winds up as a TV star, married to a gentle man who dotes on her. Exploring the ironies of their vastly different situations, Wilcox is sometimes amusing, but more often tiresome; after a while, the contrast of Emily's hard luck with Clara's good fortune begins to pall. A jolting last-minute revelation comes too late; in its proper place in the narrative it might have given this tale the poignancy and credibility it never quite achieves. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-092165-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-316-94134-1
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