Shades of Fortune

Stephen Birmingham, Author Little Brown and Company $18.95 (474p) ISBN 978-0-316-09655-3
Returning to the milieu of the New York German-Jewish families he profiled in Our Crowd , Birmingham here creates the fictional ``magnificent Myersons.'' And with the exception of his heroine Mireille ``Mimi'' Myerson, director of the Miray cosmetic empire, a nastier group would be hard to find. The founder of the dynasty, Mimi's arrogant, snobbish tyrant grandfather Adolphe, is dead, but his widow, nee Fleurette Guggenheim, and his surviving children, pederast Edwin (called Edwee) and kleptomanic Nonie, are equally rapacious. About to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign to introduce a new perfume, Mimi is distracted by the discovery that her husband, WASP lawyer Bradford Moore, is having an affair, and that her son, Badger, despises his Jewish relations. At the same time, she finds that her first (and never forgotten) love, Michael Horowitz, an aggressive, nouveau-riche industrial raider, is buying up Miray stock, possibly for a hostile takeover. The narrative gains further suspense from several mysteries, including the disappearance of Adolph's old diaries, which hold the key to sordid events in the company's past. Whether dropping names of New York's cafe society or describing items such as a Sevres vase or a Goya painting, Birmingham has a firm grasp of authentic background details. But his distaste for his characters and several gratuituous swipes (Leonard Lauder has a ``fat, dopey face'' and the Carlyle has roaches) reveal a mean streak. 100,000 copy first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; paperback sale to Berkley; Literary Guild main selection. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-515-10844-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4418-0794-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4418-0793-9
Paperback - 978-0-515-10873-6
Hardcover - 668 pages - 978-0-8161-4905-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4418-0795-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4418-0796-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-8417-5
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