cover image Social Disease

Social Disease

Paul Rudnick. Alfred A. Knopf, $14.95 (195pp) ISBN 978-0-394-55270-5

Guy Huber is a sympathetic, spoiled rich kid who isn't unwilling to get a jobhe's just certain he won't be able to find one doing what he does best, which is sleep. He's madly in love with his wife of one week, Venice, whom he met at the fashionable Club de, and he's benevolently amused by her gay chatterbox friend-turned-maid, Licky Banes. At the prompting of his father, who's just realized that his son is out of school, Guy gets a job as the doorman at Club de, where he embarrassingly lets in some people from New Jersey on his first night. The fun-loving wives of a rich sheik seek him out, and he is mistakenly thought to have kidnapped them, for which he ends up in a resort-like prison, where he runs into his father, Venice and Licky, each there for different reasons. By the time Guy is released, Club de has become an unrecognizable haven for the hopelessly suburban. Rudnick has a gifted eye and a smooth, sentient style, but the tale he's chosen to weave in this first novel is so light and insubstantial that one comes away feeling he's bitten off far less than he could capably chew. (May 19)