The lives and loves of a group of New York women are breathlessly hashed over in this collection of amusing stories by a contributor to The New Yorker and Wigwag--droll, sophisticated fiction by a promising Brooklyn writer. As in all really good gossip, the characters in these interlocked accounts establish their roles quickly and with dramatic abandon: Susannah, who came to New York to be an actress, marries early and rich; Eileen Filley, the contentious and slovenly playwright, achieves success too young; Dee Kilmartin throws parties where drunks shatter mirrors in the foyer and fall asleep in the bathtub, while Liz Quirk informs everyone of the facts behind every rumor, and Rosemary, the narrator, lets the reader in on what's really going on. All approaching their 30s, these urban strivers meet at cafes, in sublet apartments, and over the phone to gasp at such remarkable events as Susannah's move to the suburbs; Eileen's decision to take a job in a card shop as her first play opens on Broadway; and Dee's move uptown and her subsequent devastating isolation; and to wonder over such oddities as the Mask Woman, the girlfriend who never speaks, the in-laws who laugh at everything, and so on. Urban fears--including dreams of being found dead in one's apartment (``The problem,'' says Liz, ``is I have such a good deal on this place that the dream isn't just anxiety, it's prophecy'') and fantasies of escape via professional success, marriage and/or children, or a permanent apartment--distract from dreaded moments of calm reflection. As Rosemary admits, ``There's a special sort of pang you get when you realize that you aren't going to learn seven languages, and that there are countries you won't ever visit, and that somehow through the years you've turned into a specific sort of person.'' On the other hand, ``Think of all the things that could happen at a party.'' An accurate chronicle, wittily rendered.