A Bad Man is Easy to Find

M. J. Verlaine, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-312-02920-3
New Yorker writer Verlaine is a savvy new voice in ``slaves of New York'' territory. These 11 intertwined stories feature a cluster of characters, whether Natives or people from Somewhere Else, who collide both intimately and marginally as they play the networking game. In the delicious ``New York Woman,'' Brenda coaches doltish elevator technician Don, at $50 an hour, in the niceties of wine, manners, cultural patina, i.e., ``metropolitan style.'' A sophisticated woman of 56 (``A Date with a Hustler'') tastes the $2000 charms of a male hooker. The protagonist of the title story hunts for a good man, after her Jewish aunt warns against romance. The spectrum ranges from bag lady Mamie, digging out of litter baskets (``On the Sidewalks of New York'') to WASP power-slinger Harlan Fahnestock (``The Nude Scene''), who orders his girlfriend to give up the theater rather than rehearse in the buff. In the dazzling, sad and funny ``Woman of Weimar'' a group gathers at a party honoring a famed refugee professor, who makes a scene and bitterly analyzes them from her world-historic viewpoint. Verlaine superbly catches the flash and dash of ``the city whose stories never end,'' while universalizing its denizens' drive for survival and love. First serial to the New Yorker. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/06/1989
Release date: 07/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-312-05061-0
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