cover image Love Trouble is My Business

Love Trouble is My Business

Veronica Geng. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (167pp) ISBN 978-0-06-015969-6

Geng ( Partners ) is continually amazed at life's vicissitudes, its gross unfairness, its unexpected comic moments and absurdities. In 24 short, talkative, urbane pieces, all but four of which first appeared in the New Yorker , she sounds off on the arms race, the outrageous cost of higher education, wine snobbery, human bungling in a hi-tech age, luxury dog kennels. With gleeful abandon she pens imaginary letters to Gorbachev, Mitterrand and Marcos, invents a system of punctuation and wonders paranoiacally if Big Brother is watching her pull levers in the voting I changed your polling to voting, as more booth. Belabored commentaries following each article, in which she explains how and why she wrote it, smack of padding. Running fugue-like through the collection is her wry account of a live-in love relationship. Geng takes a premise and giddily runs with it (``I think Oliver North is the guy who married my sister''); the results are more often clever rather than truly witty. (Nov.)