UNLUBRICATED by Arthur Nersesian

UNLUBRICATED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the latest New York hipster saga from Nersesian (Chinese Takeout, 2003, etc.), a young Yalie tries to make a name for herself on Broadway and resorts to all the usual ploys.

The casting couch is a long and dishonorable tradition in the theater, but poor Hannah Cohn goes the extra mile: She becomes a lesbian, not for a part, but an apartment. And even that goes bust when her girlfriend Christy (Hannah’s old drama teacher at Yale) catches her making out with film producer Franklin Stein and tosses her out on her ear. Franklin makes vague promises to Hannah about a small role in his upcoming film, but the best he does in the short run is help her find a new place. Down but not out, Hannah slogs away at temp jobs and drags herself to auditions week after week. But when an old Yale classmate tells her he’s secured the production rights for a long-lost play by feminist cult icon Lily Bull (read: Valerie Solanas), Hannah takes the bull by the horns and scrapes up the cash to mount the production. Obscure and despised in her own lifetime, Bull (who once tried to kill downtown pop artist Gary Ganghole) is best known now for her man-hating diatribe C.O.C.K., but she also wrote a weird play called Unlubricated about a group of blocked writers who meet to talk out their frustrations but explode with rage when one of their group completes a successful epic. Not exactly Broadway material, but Hannah figures it will be enough of a splash to get her the publicity she needs to move on to bigger things. What she hasn’t figured on, though, are landlord disputes, copyright lawsuits, megalomaniacal directors, traitors, and plagiarists. That is, the usual New York nuisances.

Lively and quick-witted, but pretty claustrophobic after a while. Though a nice portrait of the downtown scene, it will wear thin on outsiders.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-073411-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2004




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