Another refreshingly literate and witty novel by Micou (The Music Programme, 1990), whose chronicle of a hapless young man at the mercy of a worldly and often corrupt society is gratifyingly reminiscent of Waugh and Wodehouse. When his nude caricatures of famous figures made the eponymously named magazine Lowdown a surprising success, New Yorker Oscar Lemoine, accompanied by Elizabeth, his extraordinary Labrador, fled to the south of France. There, he hoped to work in peace and ``cultivate the more extroverted personality that would be required to carry on in New York, if he ever chose to return.'' Now, while back in New York for a brief and ultimately cathartic visit, he recalls his experiences in the small resort town of Val d`Argent. Exquisitely blind to the reality of the resort residents' lives, Lemoine had fallen in love with the beautiful Veronique, the darling of the local jet-set. Unaware that she was married to the sinister and ancient Herr Dohrmann, whom Lemoine took to be her father, his pursuit was fraught with the usual comic consequences of mistaken identity. But what raises Lemoine's story above the potentially banal is Elizabeth, his guardian angel, his confidante, and finally his savior. Elizabeth, wise in the ways of man, also paints somber examples of Canine Expressionism, which are received with great acclaim. Affected by the increasing crudeness of Lowdown, Lemoine again resigns and decides to live in France permanently, but further disillusionment awaits him there--only Elizabeth's final loving gift offers some hope. Micou deftly chronicles the absurdities of fashion and society, and, while wittily recounting this rite of passage, he also writes a moving love story of a man and his dog.