cover image Moments of Favor

Moments of Favor

Daniel Bergner, Dan Bergner. Simon & Schuster, $18.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70457-5

The dangerous appeal of celebrity status is explored in this first novel by a promising writer. At college, Peter Bram pointedly avoided fellow student Michael Marr, son of a heroic president-elect who died before taking office, and the fame that trailed Michael around campus. In Manhattan several years later, however, Peter, a struggling musician and songwriter, is reacquainted with Michael and becomes part of his circle. Seduced by the perks of being best friend to a legend, and doubting Michael's regrets about living under microscopic scrutiny, Peter changes. In the mid-'80s New York City of clubs and materialistic standards, he gives up music for law school and tolerates a relationship whose depth he doubts even as he questions the layers of duplicity required by social behavior. Though Bergner's writing is polished, his characters aren't fully enough developed nor is his point of view adequately insightful to carry a story that explores the differences between superficiality and authenticity. (June)