The Art of Social War

Jodi Wing, Author . Harper $13.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-06-156824-4

In her debut novel, Wing uses Sun-Tzu’s classic The Art of War and her own difficult transition from New York to L.A. to craft a brainy, satiric chick lit novel that forgoes a typical looking-for-love plot in favor of a happy-couple-against-the-world story. Tried and true New Yorker Stacey Knight is marrying the man of her dreams, businessman Jamie, who recently acquired a sinking Hollywood studio, necessitating their move to L.A. During the wedding reception, however, the antagonistic “Trio of Terror” studio heads Simon, Barb and Phil volley the first shot in a smooth but sinister dinner toast. As her enemies go all out, Stacy plays the victim for an irritating length of time before getting wise. The twists and turns, once they become clear, are entertaining, but Wing’s characters aren’t terribly likable, especially compared to some of the well-drawn minor characters. Though her concept, weaving in passages from Sun Tzu, is clever, the read slows to a crawl under the weight of difficult-to-follow conversations, a strange narrative style and frequent use of two-dollar words. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2008
Release date: 11/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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