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This first novel by the author of two earlier books of non-fiction (Only When I Laugh and I'll Call You Tomorrow) sets out to lacerate the relentless ambition and emotional ennui of the ""new Lost Generation"" of the pre-Yuppie and post-Hippie 1970's; but, due mainly to its own inconsistencies and many thoughtless and glib indulgences, it succeeds instead in achieving a rather parochial and scarcely-justified whine. Anny Alloway is thirty-three years old and aspires to the New York big time as a journalist/novelist, in order, supposedly, 1) to escape her horrible teaching job at a tenth-rate open-admissions college, 2) to give a nicer life to her illegitimate and precocious pre-teen daughter Eleanor, and 3) to achieve ""glory"" (albeit with her integrity intact). Toward these ends (initially), she becomes the lover of the brilliant Lee Whitter, editor of the hot, liberal, integrity-maintaining weekly Downtown (read Village Voice). But when the soulless Homer Slade (read Rupert Murdoch) buys out Downtown, Lee Whitter is demoted and demeaned, remains a yes man to the great detriment of his integrity, has a nervous breakdown, and beats up Anny while he is in a drunken near-stupor. Still hopelessly lust-smitten for him (among other things, she masturbates on one of his left-behind turtlenecks), Army struggles to free herself of her need for the erstwhile upward-bound Whitter, and in the process has her own quasi breakdown. But all's well that ends well: news comes right on cue that Anny's book on the Beats has been auctioned for a figure staggeringly high, and, free of it all at last, she'll buy the fairy-tale farmhouse with morning-glories on the porch where she and Eleanor will have everything they really want. The satire in this book is doggedly trendy though there are some fine sections on the internal politics of Downtown, the sex is determinedly omnipresent, and the characters are too seldom actual people. Lee Whitter, one learns, loves Army, among other things, because ""she had a perfect-size cunt."" ""'Mmm! Can she suck cock!'"" says an ""eminent medievalist"" of one of his students at the tenth-rate college. Of an upscale literary party, one reads that ""The place was a fucking bazaar, with everything up for barter--pussies, cocks, influence, escorts, money, friendship. The only commodity not available was integrity.""That word again. Trouble is, the novel doesn't offer it either, though the opportunity was there.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1985
Publisher: Avon