Live Girls

Beth Nugent, Author Alfred A. Knopf $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-41978-5
Alienated characters drift aimlessly through a bleak urban wasteland in Nugent's rather turgid first novel, whose flat, affectless tone becomes monotonous early. The narrator, Catherine, is a college dropout who works at an X-rated movie house and lives in a transient hotel. Catherine is obsessed by memories of her dead sister; likewise, the porn theater's owner, Dave, is obsessed with his former wife, whom he accidently killed. The closest thing to a friend in Catherine's life is Jerome, a self-absorbed transvestite hustler. Eventually, Dave produces his awkward, unsophisticated nephew, Danny, in the hopes that he and Catherine will somehow hit it off, rather wishful thinking considering both characters' utter inability to communicate. The extreme emotional isolation of everyone in the book makes it difficult for any sort of plot to develop, and a reader's empathy is pushed to the breaking point by such narcissistic characters. While Nugent mined very similar territory to great effect in her debut short-story collection, City of Boys, the material is not sufficient to propel this novel. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19485-0
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-679-74424-5
Open Ebook - 118 pages - 978-0-307-78915-0
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