Email this review


 California narcissism--San Francisco Bay area division--is cheerfully satirized by Kahn (Luncheon at the Cafe Ridiculous, 1990), who also uses her echt yuppie title characters, Dirk and Bree, in a real-life syndicated newspaper column. Kahn tries a little too hard in the beginning to poke fun at her overfamiliar targets, but then her narrator, journalist and would-be screenwriter Laura Gloriana, begins to resemble a human being and the novel takes off on its wayward course. Gloriana, once Laura Gurvitz of Brooklyn and Teaneck, New Jersey, intends to get a movie deal out of Dirk and Bree, whom she considers her property because it was her articles about them that made them the last word in yuppiehood. But all deals are off when the two announce on a TV talk show their plans to have ``caring divorce''--not so caring, however, that one of them doesn't end up with a broken nose before the show is over. Gloriana believes she must get them back together again to advance her career, and she tries, but she's no Machiavelli. That tag rightfully belongs to her rival for the Dirk- Bree property, Neil Blender, a ruthless Hollywood go-getter with a laid-back demeanor who is one of Kahn's most successful satiric characters. Kahn also has her fun with Blender's politically correct ex-wife, Mai. As Gloriana pursues her quest, she has a chance to realize what's really important, nudged on by the death of her father and an earthquake. The finest comic moments come near the end, when a weekend couples' encounter seminar led by a rabbi into Zen Judaism gets out of hand. A knowing, often funny romp among northern California navel- gazers.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-69151-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1991