Bawdy, bitter, very funny, and as absolutely tasteless as its subject matter: Jenkins's farewell salute to big-time sportswriting is a tell-all novel that deflates the hype around each and every event, from the Olympics to the Kentucky Derby to Wimbledon. Jim Tom Pinch's job involves hopping from one glamorous sporting event to the next, enjoying the company of Nazi-like Austrian downhill racers, money-whipped American millionaires, egomaniacal college basketball stars, vulgar New York admen, and the insufferable pretensions of his fellow sportswriters. One of Jenkins's (Fast Copy, 1988, etc.) enduring creations, Jim Tom is seemingly the author's alter ego, aging rancorously and sparing no one in a book-length diatribe he's writing (which in fact is the book we're reading). He's fighting a hopeless rear-guard action against journalism's overall decline into Time-Warner-like ``synergistic mediocrity,'' juggling three ex-wives and a wastrel son, and dealing with two younger, lovely, sports-talking, worshipful writers who are both in love with his decaying carcass. The two women and the plot they drag along with them are serious flaws, since Nell and Jeannie are fantasy mates from Playboy and Jim Tom acts just too noble around them to be any fun. Sports fiction that makes the real thing--as purveyed by TV networks and other news media--seem almost beside the point. Some will find it offensive, particularly in sexual and racial matters, but there's nothing in this sprawling comedy that can't be found in the world.