Toxicology

Jessica Hagedorn, Viking, $25.95 (232p) ISBN 978-0-670-02257-1
Hagedorn's fiery latest (after Dogeaters) introduces Mimi Smith, whose notorious first film, Blood Wedding, an art-house gore-fest, garnered critical acclaim. But that was a few years ago, and thoroughly modern Mimi is "suffering from a twenty-first century affliction": she spends her days boozing and blowing through the money that's supposed to be funding her next film; her 14-year-old daughter, Violet, has decided to live with her father; and Mimi's distant cousin Agnes has disappeared after being brought to the U.S. from the Philippines to slave away for a New Jersey family who promised to get her a green card. The story's ignited by the death of Romeo Byron, a Heath Ledger figure, who overdoses in his East Village apartment. His death rattles Mimi enough to make her turn to her crotchety old neighbor, Eleanor Delacroix, the famous queen of "avant-garde lesbian feminist erotic literature," now a heavy drinker and a functioning cokehead, but nevertheless vibrant, megalomaniacal, hateful, and hilarious. As Mimi spirals downward, Eleanor tries to get it together to give a reading, only she can't actually write anything. A razor-sharp, refreshingly unsentimental portrayal of New York artists—selfish, irresponsible, and brilliant—and the evolution of feminism. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2011
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-46810-4
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-14-312052-0
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-47644-4
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