cover image The House That Ate the Hamptons: A Novel of Lily Pond Lane

The House That Ate the Hamptons: A Novel of Lily Pond Lane

James Brady. Thomas Dunne Books, $23.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-312-20558-4

Now an old hand at ribbing the glitteratis antics, Brady (Gin Lane, Further Lane) has concocted another Hamptons-based roman clef based on in-crowd lifestyles. Inspired by the real-life media fallout from the recent construction of a monstrous Hamptons mansion, this novel chronicles the efforts of one Long Island community to protect its insular, rarefied lifestyle against the excesses of the nouveau riche with grandiose pretensions, and those who jump on the bandwagon of self-righteous risistance. Congressman Buzzy Portofino reads New York City Mayor Giuliani) decides to get tough on Hamptons sin, focusing on a Texas oil billionaire (possibly a phony cover for the true Arab investors) whos threatening to build the most obtrusively gargantuan private home in the U.S. The narrator, columnist Beecher Stowe, and his media savvy Tina Brownlike British consort, Her Ladyship Alix Dunraven, join forces with a panoply of neurotic characters whom Brady depicts without a shred of subtlety. Among them, theres the Sam Goldwyn/Woody Allen-ish movie director Sammy Glique and his 19-year-old Asian-American girlfriend, Dixie Ng, whose Southern accent is transliterated into annoying prose. Also joining the action are the late Ayn Rand, alive and well, partnered with her principled architect character-come-to-life Howard Roark; Kurt Vonnegut Jr., whose real-life Hamptons protest inspired this book; the ubiquitous George Plimpton with his tape recorder at the ready; and even Martha Stewart is available for a cameo when shes not writing, broadcasting, putting up preserves, filleting a salmon, fermenting grapes... or thatching a roof. These celebs and their rich and famous counterparts writhe through a convoluted, over-the-top plot that reads more like a gossip column than a novel. (June)