ONE WOMAN SHORT by Nelson George


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Breezy, cleverly assured coming-of-age tale about a savvy, unmarried Los Angeles buppie who explores his bed-hopping past.

The third novel from New York journalist and screenwriter George (Seduced, 1996; Urban Romance, 1994) begins as a mildly satirical comedy of manners salted with up-to-the-minute slang and a refreshingly different take on the Tinseltown landscape. Rodney Hampton, a self-employed, 33-year-old Hollywood publicist, wonders why, after dating 133 women in 10 years (he not only counted, but kept track of addresses and telephone numbers), the closest he's come to the altar is being best man at the recent marriage of his friend Tim. His widowed mother, slowly losing her mind in a nursing home, and his hairdresser sister, raising three children as a single mother, vividly demonstrate how tough it is to be alone: Hampton longs for something more than a few months of great sex. When a recording company puts him on retainer for three months, guaranteeing a steady paycheck and the possibility of a six-figure salary if he's hired full-time, Hampton picks three past girlfriends as potential future wives. While flacking a multiethnic restaurant, an indie film, and the next great rap singer from Bakersfield, he looks up chaste, Bible-quoting Amy, decadent nightclub owner Belinda, and night-shift nurse Sabena, so magnificently gorgeous it seems a crime she can't realize her ambition to be a dancer. Hampton learns that he can't go home again (his childhood house is occupied by Hispanics) and that, as cads go, he actually wasn't so bad.

George’s meandering but engaging story gets bite from its sly observations of the emerging black middle class, and color from the delightfully discordant supporting characters: Where else but L.A. can a blustering male porn star meet his match in a plucky Kinko's photocopier?

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-684-86461-4
Page count: 265pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000


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