cover image Resentment: A Comedy

Resentment: A Comedy

Gary Indiana. Doubleday Books, $22.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-385-48429-9

By the time it drips its last drop of acid, Indiana's (Rent Boy, etc.) vitriolic new novel, which begins as a Menendez trial roman a clef, has eaten into nearly everyone within the author's formidable reach. Although the Martinez brothers' preening, ruthless defense attorney, their neurotic judge and self-serving elder brother, Carlos, occupy much of the narrative, Indiana takes on a host of characters--jaded L.A. actors, hustlers and journalists, some only tangentially touched by the trial--all of whom smack of true-to-life parody. Chief among them is Seth, an embittered, second-rate Manhattan journalist hired to cover the trial, who stays in L.A. with his old friend (and fellow sexual predator) Jack, a popular talk-radio host. As the sexual liaisons, assaults and alcoholic blackouts multiply, so do the targets of the novel's acrid satire: the judicial system; Scientology; art-world poseurs (in the person of dilettante Nathan Greenglass, whose empty ""AIDS paintings"" have made him a star); Hollywood's fascination with Eastern religion (Richard Gere and Philip Glass compete on the TV game show Celebrity Buddhist); and East Coast literati (a Martinez ally stays at Princeton's ""Hotel Carol Oates""). The unremitting, sometimes wearying, cynicism of the novel is reminiscent not only of Indiana's other work but of Bruce Wagner's dystopic take on Hollywood, I'm Losing You. The sex, meanwhile, reads like low-rent Dennis Cooper. And yet, unlike those novelists, Indiana indulges his moral sense with an apocalyptic ending, maybe the only possible conclusion to his ruthless assault on our meretricious fin de siecle. First serial to Bomb; author tour. (July)