BETWEEN MEN by Fiona Lewis


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 This tale of a would-be screenwriter has a funny line or two on almost every page, but debut novelist Lewis (who has both acted in films and written about them for the Los Angeles Times) hasn't quite honed her narrative skills to the level of her humor. Alice Wilder is a sharp-tongued New York heroine of the type found in the works of Nora Ephron, Susan Isaacs, et al. Transplanted to L.A., she cracks jokes to protect herself from getting hurt while toiling at a local newspaper. Her Russian ÇmigrÇ mother is the kind of woman who taught Wilder how to correctly blend in Elizabeth Arden night cream with her fingertips (``tiny dancing motions, chÇrie'') and that she should never reveal herself to men. After a brief, unhappy marriage to the son of a movie star ``famous for his suave gentleman roles,'' Wilder starts an affair with married film director Oscar Lombardi. Lombardi has four weeks before he needs to leave for Chicago to shoot some scenes, and they agree that during that time they will sate themselves to grind down their attraction to each other. Easier said than done. Wilder is also seeing Mike Pearce, a younger man studying for the bar exam and taking a stand-up comedy course. He is adoring, but she finds his youthful eagerness somewhat exhausting. Much of this is very funny, and Lewis shines at painting an entire personality with a few details, but once she has established her characters she is at a loss about what to do with them. Wilder wavers back and forth between Lombardi and Pearce, even though it's obvious from the start that over-eager Pearce is only a post-divorce dalliance and Lombardi will have difficulty leaving his wife. A frothy look at what Hollywood husbands are doing behind the backs of Hollywood wives. (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-87113-586-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994