cover image With the Next Man Everything Will Be Different

With the Next Man Everything Will Be Different

Eva Heller. Random House (NY), $19 (347pp) ISBN 978-0-394-57834-7

In this irreverent social satire, a bestseller in Heller's native Germany, Constance Wechselburger, a 27-year-old film student in Berlin, breaks up with her stingy doctor boyfriend, Albert, to search for someone better. Since nothing short of the perfect mate will do, her first choice is professor Gottfried Schachtschnabel, an intellectual who aims to dispel beliefs in bourgeois institutions like marriage even though he himself is married. When she realizes Gottfried isn't Prince Charming, Constance wonders who might be he, and asks where she herself is heading. ``Was there nothing left for me besides resignation or waiting eternally for the revolution that would overthrow bourgeois property relations? Or was there something else worth waiting for?'' With her colorful friends as guides and their relationships as examples, both good and bad, Constance keeps a keen eye trained on her world, commenting on holidays and weddings, temporary jobs and personal ads. Among her observations, her trips home to visit her blatantly bourgeois parents and her efforts to maintain a harmonious separation from Albert, Constance unknowingly reveals herself. Heller's fresh take and delicate touch are worthy of praise. (Jan.)