FLAME by Judy Feiffer


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From Feiffer (Hot Property and Lovecrazy, both mass-market), a ham-fisted attempt at glitzy Hollywood trash à la Krantz and Collins. Nick Khan is the handsome son of a driving Jewish mother and a musician father ruined by the Hollywood studio system. Escaping that homelife in the early 50's, he heads for Harvard to win a degree in psychology and ends up on Martha's Vineyard having an affair with wealthy heiress Jeannie Rand--but is shocked to find out that she's a nympho: ""There were two Jeannies. The sweet and tender girl whom he loved and a wild stranger. . .who fucked like a female fury."" When the female fury breaks things off, Nick mopes for a while, then moves back to Hollywood, where he becomes shrink to the stars, ""a guru, a human god,"" healing bruised egos and raking it in. And who should he meet but Jeannie. Thinking he can change her ways, he marries her and installs her in his mansion, where she gives him a daughter, Flame, but eventually Jeannie is murdered by a lowlife maniac she picks up in a bar. The scene now shifts to Russian dance teacher Natalia Roster, a drillmaster type who runs a ballet school in California, but wants her daughter, Anna, to become the great dancer she herself never was--and so, absurdly enough, turns the poor girl into a flamenco dancer and takes her down to Mexico, where the action is. There a cute bullfighter falls in love with Anna, but by then Anna's affections are already taken by a cruel Mexican strong-man named General De Diego (""Virgins were his only vice""), who holds her and Natalia in virtual thralldom for years--until Nick, on a slumming trip to Mexico with his now grown-up daughter Flame, sees Anna dance and is so enraptured thereby that he spirits her back to Lotusland for an affair-rocked but all's-happy-in-the-end marriage. Definitely low rent. And Feiffer's style might best be described as Early Cave Dweller (""George Warren was thirty years old and a walking fuck machine"").

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1986
Publisher: Delacorte