Mary Bellanova’s good-for-nothing boyfriend Primo has been dead for hours . . . and she just thought he was watching TV.
That’s what she gets for loving an unemployed musician, even though she doesn’t really love him anymore. But Mary’s determined to get to the bottom of things, whether or not the “doughnutarian” cops who briefly camp out in her roach-infested apartment to investigate will help. She heads for the distant land of Flushing to talk to Primo’s wheelchair-bound mother, who’s a little too senile to remember much, then returns to the filthy streets of the East Village to track down his many former lovers and meet the wife Primo never bothered to mention: an ex-stripper turned foul-mouthed rock musician. Like most of these people, Mary is a loser herself and proud of it, living by dead-end temp jobs, hanging out in grungy bars, and opting for mostly meaningless sex until something better comes along. Eventually, she finds out that Primo was cheating on her—surprise, surprise—and, worst of all, lying about his age. Her slacker stud was well over 40, an unforgivable offense in this youthful but not innocent milieu, where anything goes and nothing much matters. Not only that, but he was dosing himself with enough Viagra to kill a Tijuana donkey. For all his vaunted edginess, author Nersesian (Manhattan Loverboy, not reviewed) offers a solidly constructed albeit slight plot that moves right along, and the members of his cast are carefully drawn. All the zany downtown types keep the action humming, although this cult novelist would rather be tough than trendy: there are no dot-com zillionaires or Park Avenue princesses slumming in his neighborhood.
Sharp, funny look at life and love in down-and-dirty New York.