Another from the resourceful and amusing Felske, whose satire of the fashion industry, The Shallow Man (1995), and knifing of Los Angeles, Word (1998), are both in the pipeline at New Line Cinema. Like the late Stanley Elkin, Felske masters the pedantry of various trades and milieus, then creates a joyous poetry of jargon to float his novels on, setting sail on an ocean of buzzwords. His latest topic is international gold diggers—the sweet lovelies more sharklike than Anita Loos’s or Truman Capote’s—who speak of Walletmen (fat cats of Fortune 500 and Forbes 400), of Chanel, Bulgart, and Armani, and of the seasons at Gstaad, Cannes, Nice, and Ibiza. Felske’s narrator, Bo (Bodices), has jade-green eyes, has had her lips tattooed deep red for a strong lip line, changes color every six weeks, and has just gone off-Tour and arrived in Manhattan to see an English sugar-daddy whom a fellow Digger (Travels With Men) has asked her to entertain. Bo, part Native American Zuni, builds the egos of her Walletmen with wise words lifted from astrology columns, and, since seeing Dances With Wolves, she nicks all her fellow Diggers with names like Earns Every Penny and Every Little Bit Helps. She has a Ten Year Window, from 20 to 30, to hit the Mother Lode—a Walletman she can mine for lasting, lifetime security. For the time being, she lives in a cute two-bedroom on the 34th floor of Trump Tower (rent: $4,800 a month) that she shares with her best friend, the snowman (that is, gay) budding psychologist Napoleon Dieudonne, to whom—as his only patient’she tells her steamy life story: her pursuit of The Rich Rebel, Bradley Lorne-August; her tie with late sister Vicky’s daughter, Maximilia; and her own rise to true self-empowerment. Felske laces every page with a masterful cynicism that Bo sees as her own Millennial Smarts while still charming all. A novel with legs.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 1999

ISBN: 0-312-24217-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1999

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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