FOUR BLONDES by Candace Bushnell

FOUR BLONDES

KIRKUS REVIEW

From the writer of the original Sex and the City (1996), the source of the HBO series, four loosely linked stories (being marketed as a novel) about the glamorous exteriors and unfulfilled interiors of high-status, no-longer-young New Yorkers.

Starting with her New York Observer columns, Bushnell has chronicled the romantic plights of 30-ish women who look like they have everything, and spend their time trying to believe it. Here, she does a fine job of sketching her characters and portraying, both satirically and realistically, their elite social ecology (with enough of a roman à clef feel to get people talking), but the longer pieces call for greater narrative skills than Bushnell's able to muster. In “Nice N’Easy,” beautiful, cynical, gold-digger Janey Wilcox (whose situation strikingly parallels Lily Bart’s in The House of Mirth) has traded in her looks and the semi-celebrity of a once-promising modeling/acting career for a string of wealthy, unpleasant, summer boyfriends, tolerated for their luxurious Hamptons houses. A bid for independence (her own summer rental, paid for by a married Hollywood mogul plus an attempt at writing) fails, but an unexpected contract as a Victoria’s Secret model puts her back on top, and enables her to buy her own house. Likewise, in the amusing but slight “Crossing the Pond,” a blond, 40-ish, New York sex columnist travels to London in search of a husband, and leaves disappointed, only to find herself on the flight home seated next to the man she’s been looking. In grimmer scenarios, “Highlights (For Adults),” a driven, tightly wound journalist considers leaving her disappointing, less ambitious husband but, instead, both have flings and regroup; and in “Snow Angels,” Cecilia—part Princess Grace, part Princess Di—falls apart in New York and Cannes, abetted by her dangerous, Courtney Love–like, new best friend.

Like a Bushnell character: glittery and irresistible but, likewise, ultimately unsatisfying.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2000
ISBN: 0-87113-819-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2000




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