HAMPTONS BABYLON by Peter Fearon

HAMPTONS BABYLON

Life Among the Super-Rich on America's Riviera
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of Buckingham Babylon (1993) exposes more sin and scandal, in the usual tabloid way. Fearon drops the name of everyone famous and notorious who ever put a foot wrong, planted an exotic tree, or buried a corpse or two from Southampton to Montauk. Most of his essays are disjointed, united only by location and embellished with dialogue, imagined feelings, and local color: all the ways an intelligent author makes a rehash into something that can pass for originality. Beginning with Hamptons history, back to the 17th century, Fearon tells some tales of famous artists and writers: Jackson Pollock’s drunken binges; Marilyn Monroe’s affair with a lucky beach boy; John Steinbeck’s defense of the war in Vietnam (he happened to have a house in Sag Harbor), and Truman Capote’s falling out with his society friends after the publication of “La Cìte Basque.” To these artists, Fearon tacks on Andrew Crispo, a seedy gallery owner with a Southampton home who was allegedly involved in an S&M murder that took place in Rockland County, northwest of Manhattan. So begin Fearon’s true-crime essays told in as much grisly detail as possible. The victim’s body “had been burned and most of it appeared to have been eaten by animals. The shoulders of what was now little more than a skeleton were topped by a horrific black leather mask with slits for the eyes and nose and a zipper across the mouth. It was covered in blood.” There is the requisite inclusion of Kennedys: Jackie and her sister Lee were brought up in East Hampton. Trashy, but not fun. For good Hamptons gossip, read Steven Gaines’s Philistines at the Hedgerow (p. 631). (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 1-55972-438-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Birch Lane Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998




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