IT WAS GONNA BE LIKE PARIS by Emily Listfield

IT WAS GONNA BE LIKE PARIS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Beware of novels with ""gonna"" in the title. Beware, too, of titles that ring with self-pity--an emotion which remains a dominant chord through this fragmented first novel: bits and pieces of memoir and observation by Sara, 28, an East Village painter. Sara records anecdotes told by her friends and acquaintances, an assortment of strung-out Village types--painters, homosexuals, rock-musicians with groupies. (""I guess we all fucked her at some point and then I think someone shook up a coke bottle and put it up her. . . ."") She periodically writes down the latest about best-friend Carrie--whose activities are far from earth-shaking. (""Carrie is addicted to candy corn. She knows each store in the city that stocks it year-round, not just on Halloween."" Etc.) She jots down remembered glimpses of her father, her stereotypical Jewish mother--warning Sara, for instance, not to sit on public toilet seats. And she broods about her art, her talent, with doubts, blocks, confidence, and yearning. (""I wanna paint, paint, paint. And ! wanna be good, real good. I just wanna be good."") But, above all, Sara suffers through her relationship with ""him, him, him. Brett, Brett."" Unfortunately, charismatic rocker Brett is a hopeless heroin addict--a fact which Sara tries hard to deny: ""More than anything else, I believed in my ability to change him, and I clung to this with single-minded stubbornness even when he did not call or show up or when he was too inebriated for it to matter, when he was Brett."" Eventually she does give him up, Finding a gentler sort of romance with regular-guy Gary. (""There is something missing. But it's okay. Maybe it's what's missing that makes it okay. I don't tingle."") And Sara ends up rediscovering the ""fun"" in life, looking forward to artistic triumphs: ""I want to see your faces when I have my first one-woman show."" Less like a novel than the cut-and-pasted pages of a young (not untalented) writer's notebook--and, despite the trendy/gritty trimmings, essentially sentimental, trite, self-indulgent.

Pub Date: April 6th, 1984
ISBN: 0553345435
Publisher: Dial/Doubleday