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Upper middlebrow media essays, mostly on theater and Hollywood, by the playwright of American Buffalo and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross. Very little of this is about the romance of writing, in restaurants or elsewhere. When Mamet is writing about observed life, he's fun and even moving, as in ""Tree Stories of Bitches,"" a piece about his wife's griping over Mamet's weekly poker game away from home, and then about her asking him, ""Who was the most famous person you ever slept with?"" "" I asked if I looked like the type who would kiss and tell, and she said, yes, l did."" Too much here, however, is undramatized headstuff, abstractions about abstractions which the mind can bend this way and that. Among the better pieces are a delightful hurrah for radio drama, a terrific description of Mamet's wife bustling him off to the Caribbean for a family vacation, some rich notes on The Cherry Orchard that wash away our received ideas about that great play, and a long piece about Mamet as a ""backstage wife"" while following his real-life wife (actress Lindsay Ann Crouse) on location in Canada during the filming of Iceman. This last is the book's biggest entry and is gripping in its camaraderie, revealing about moviemaking, and has a funny passage about a grapefruit painted to look like a softball. A mixed bag for general readers, but theater collections should shelve it.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1986
ISBN: 0140089810
Publisher: Viking