With the protagonist of this novel, 43-year-old Matthew Barber, a recently divorced toy company executive who's also an undercover restaurant critic, Kraft examines a more constricted world than he did in the effervescent Herb 'n' Lorna. Matthew haunts the dining establishments of Boston--often in the company of girlfriend Belinda--and, as B. W. Beath, writes sardonic reviews for a trendy local paper. Although he's successful in both lines of work and enjoys uninhibited, frequent sex with Belinda, the failure of his marriage (and a childhood as a fat boy) have left Matthew with serious self-doubts. In chapters organized around restaurant visits and capped by reviews, Kraft charts the collapse of Matthew's habitual timidity (kept in place with assorted macho fantasies) under the louder and louder blandishments of his alter ego B.W. Kraft's observant eye, his sure approach to sex, his wit--Matthew deplores what he calls his adequacy complex--are here, but the inventiveness that lifted his earlier work out of the ordinary isn't. Heed the title. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990 Release date: 04/01/1990 Genre: Fiction
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