SOCIAL DISEASE by Paul Rudnick


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A wickedly funny sendup of Manhattan night life from first-novelist Rudnick. Listen to gay social-butterfly Licky Banes describing his friend, Guy Huber, star of the decadent downtown club scene: ""Guy has no skills, no previous experience, just a loft, a trust fund, and an Ivy League diploma. . .he's a helium balloon with legs."" But what legs--and what eyes--and what gorgeous blue-streaked hair! Guy and his equally stunning wife of one week, Venice, prowl the Manhattan night (along with Licky, their live-in maid) having adventures at S/M clubs and abandoned gas stations, but their true love is the sizzling Club de, ""the latest temple of exclusive yet violently publicized depravity."" There the newlyweds dance into the wee hours while Licky lives up to his nickname in the unisex bathrooms, and the weeping, gnashing clamor of Those Outside Who Can't Get In penetrates the inner sanctum only dimly. But trouble enters Guy's serene life when he overdraws his trust fund and his stodgy Park Avenue parents (who made their pile in the kind of domestic champagne ""available primarily in six-packs"") insist he get a job. Suddenly he finds himself doorman at the Club de, separating the riffraff from the socially acceptable with the (much-needed) aid of two burly bodyguards. It's his innocent misfortune to have the entire harem of Sheik Oded Ben Fadood fall in love with him; the jealous and powerful Fadood charges him with kidnapping, and after a farcical trial, Guy is found guilty and sent upstate to a posh minimum-security prison. Venice joins him on an extended conjugal visit, followed by Licky (falsely convicted of selling cocaine to preschoolers) and the trio eventually decides to break out ""after peak tanning hours."" They make their way back to their beloved Club de, only to find that Those Outside Who Can't Get In--have Gotten In. The scene has moved elsewhere. Delightful spoofery, particularly the rich, spoiled, innocently snobbish Guy, whose blithe silliness makes him a kind of Bertie Wooster for our time.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1986
Publisher: Knopf