WINNERS by Judith Green


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A first novel full of great, hurtling, out-of-my-way-or-else pep, but almost totally lacking in heart; it trades on a snappy vindictiveness which you'll either accept right off or be unable to stand for even a moment. Amanda Weldon is 38, a suburban mother of two, and the wife of Mark Weldon, the handsome real-estate tycoon who pulled off the triumph of getting the Olympics to come to New York City, a feat that nets him the Republican nomination for governor. But though Mark is a sort of right-wing Kennedy and Amanda is herself a conservative stingray, she's not at all conventional in bed: her affair with Maria Marr, wife of electronics millionaire Latham Marr (Mark's finance chairman), is of long standing, as is her occasional low-life heterosexual promiscuity. Still, it's not Amanda's sexual shenanigans that damage Mark's shoe-in campaign with scandal. Mark himself, you see, gets tripped up by a double-agenting woman aide--and the candidate is in danger of a sex-rumor disaster. So Amanda takes over! Always forthright, she goes on TV to ""mass-market fucking,"" to admit human weakness but blast political double-deals. . . and Mark sails on to victory. True, Green is massively hip--about P.R. and money and sex. And she gushes with irreverence in her hyper, ultra, de trop style: ""Although Mother's Brannigan background was finally eviscerated, it was never gutted from her guts. And here she was again, spiked and digging in, living in her glass house and throwing stones. The green was on. Go! Sally forth, Mother, and pour that drink, that signal to me of the devastation I'm causing you."" But, instead of really turning the old political novel inside-out, Green's hard-working, self-admiring fiction winds up without any discernible intellectual substance or emotional support: its cynicism and ruthlessness (which some readers will surely find infectious) ultimately seem merely ends in themselves, showy and hollow and strangely, sadly pointless.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1980
Publisher: Knopf