MOMENTS OF FAVOR by Daniel Bergner


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 A debut novel chronicling how a Manhattan musician of the Yo Dude Generation abandons his museand, presumably, his deeper, truer selffor the seductions of celebrity, corporate law, and a bride in a Bergdorf Goodman wedding gown. Whether Peter Bram, the bright, well-educated son of a Westchester doctor, ever could have become the Bruce Springsteen of suburban New York remains up in the air: as the novel opens, he's already contemplating his ``stillborn life,'' working on never-to-be-completed songs, and recalling his one brief shining moment two years prior when he opened for Jackson Browne. And, alas, at this precise moment of vulnerability two bad influences assert themselves. The first is Michael Marr, ``America's prince,'' patterned on John Kennedy, Jr., who welcomes Peter into his coterie, making him feel like a specially trusted friend, all the while draining away Peter's will to do anything on his own. The second is pretty Lee ``I want to lead a charmed life'' Holt, a veritable technician in bed who starts having orgasms only after Peter agrees to go to law school. Peter is at once sickened by and attracted to the life these two lay out before himthough at the promptings of Karina, who sells earrings and T-shirts on the street, he veers re-embraces his earlier ambitions for just long enough to play one more gig. But then it's back to torts, Lee, and sycophancy when Peter realizes that he is after all just a ``nice normal kid from Brooklyn Heights and Larchmont.'' As a character, Peter remains fuzzy at the center, which is why it doesn't seem worth shedding too many tears over his big sellout. Still, Bergner touches on some interesting complexities (particularly in the Peter-Michael relationship), and covers some of the Bright Lights, Big City territory without ever seeming panderingly trendy.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-70457-5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1991


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