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More urbane than Erma Bombeck, less glib than Nora Ephron, Fran Lebowitz drolly expands on city living in general and specifically insular phenomena like Soho conceptual artists and the First Women's Bank. A true believer in cigarettes, sleep (""death without the responsibility""), and other people's cooking, she grimaces at polyester leisure suits, telephone bills, or T-shirts with messages (""If people don't want to listen to you, what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?""), and impudently dismisses mood jewelry and other manifestations of excessive self-awareness: ""Anyone who is troubled by the inability to feel his or her own feelings is more than welcome to feel mine."" These wry mini-reflections range from a vocational guidance test for the ambitious (So You Want to Be the Pope) to tips for aspiring landlords (play a recording of radiator-starting sounds on cold days) and to suggested events in the New York Decathlon (Press-Agentry, Party-Going). Aside from too many orchestrated puns (the tragedy of Quenched State, a joyful noise unto the bored, the rats desert the sinking whip) and the occasional overextended elaboration, these are amusing, gently mocking pieces in the literary-grump school of contemporary comment.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1978
Publisher: Dutton