TRUE ADVENTURES by Dan Greenburg


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Ten pieces, 1969-1977, that orginally appeared in Playboy, Esquire, Life, and New York magazine. (""They all really happened to me, and they were all threatening, either physically or psychically."") As readers of Scoring and other Greenburg books would expect, several of the entries are ventures into non-traditional sexual activity: Greenburg responds to kinky ads in ""swinger"" magazines, gets virtually nothing but commercial come-ons in reply, yet winds up in a funny (if less-than-believable) attempt at an S&M rendezvous; he nervously sets out in quest of a bona fide orgy, with a tad of eros waiting at the end of an amusingly disappointing trail; but a more soulful return to the Sandstone sex-club is flat and unconvincing. (""I. . . want to find out how a guy my age who was raised in the same traditions I was raised in could unlearn jealousy enough to share his lady with me."") Elsewhere, the most solid laughs come from a Neil Simon-ish saga about dealing with crazy, inept, expensive N.Y. electricians--and, above all, from Greenburg's pathetic search for black-magic thrills in and around Aleister Crowley's former manse in Scotland. (There are increasingly expensive expeditions to Inverness--to buy, or try to buy, incense, cedar wood, carpet cleaner, gray enamel, magic wands, and ""magical flashing tablets."") But the most impressive piece here is the most serious, plainly reportorial one: Greenburg's grisly, vivid close-up profile of the everyday work of N.Y.C. firefighters--which, largely because of Greenburg's basically ironic and informal style, comes across as a firm, un-platitudinous tribute. A solidly engaging, relatively un-dated roundup overall--with a respectable balance between lesser entries (a pro-and-con reaction to Werner Erhard's est, a short trip to the city morgue, a James Beard anecdote) and memorable ones.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1985
Publisher: Freundlich--dist. by Scribners