cover image Decade of the Year

Decade of the Year

Ellis Weiner. Dutton Books, $17.95 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-525-24531-5

With few exceptions, the 25 pieces here are mordantly, comically on target. There is also a running, subliminal story of writer ""Noah Vale''Weiner himself?coping with deadpan, deadhead editors, agents and TV persons. Weiner parodies writers (S. J. Perelman, John Irving, Joan Didion, P. G. Wodehouse) who are often self-parodists. The real targets are Ronald Reagan (``The Hotel Washington, D.C.'' demolishes most of the administration) and such other ills as racism, selfishness and mindlessness. Even the apparently gentle ``Magic Real Coffeism''the style of One Hundred Years of Solitude applied to the TV commercial featuring Juan Valdez and ``one hundred percent Colombian coffee''is devastating. Not to be skipped are the acknowledgements, errata and index. This probably is not for the old lady in Dubuquealthough ``That Damned Magazine'' gets its knocksbut sophisticated readers will identify with Noah Vale, who wonders ``if he had unwittingly made the leap from satirist to crank.'' A brilliant, dizzying tour de force. (August 17)