Loonglow

Helen Eisenbach, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $16.45 (264p) ISBN 978-0-374-19113-9
This first novel is depressing. Characterization has been sacrificed to purported wit, and instead of plot development, there is a succession of scenes that neither reveal character nor portray gripping circumstances. Clay, a rich Southerner at play in New York, is obsessed by a beautiful woman he sees in a bar; the woman, Mia, is a lesbian involved with Louey, a book editor, who in turn is obsessed by Mia but becomes involved with Clay, whose book (a tired satire on Bright Lights, Big City Clay jokingly calls Bright Lights, Hot Pussy) she eventually comes to edit. There seems to be no reason for a committed lesbian to have a fling with a man, much less a bad writer (on the evidence of his novel excerpted in italics) whose work she respects for no discernible reason; there is even less reason for Louey to continue to pine for Mia. The characters are not people, but archetypes (they refer to each other as ""baby,'' ``dollface,'' ``honey,'' ``girl,'' ``girlie'' and ``sugar''), complete with ``witty'' repartee that is obscure, tiresome and not at all funny. Troubled childhoods come back to haunt most of them in two- or three-page chapters periodically dropped in. Louey and Clay's unusual a deux is simply a variation on the central relationship in Stephen McCauley's Object of My Affection, a novel notable for precisely what is missing herea narrative with vitality, humor and sincere emotion. 75,000 first printing. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-35675-6
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