COCK-A-DOODLE-DO by Philip Weiss

COCK-A-DOODLE-DO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Ambitious first novel from journalist Weiss, in which a nice- ish public-service lawyer almost loses all his nice ideals in not- so-nice New York. Now in his late 20s, narrator Jack Gold has spent the last four years working for a left-wing public-interest center in New York City. More recently he's been assisting the presidential campaign of an African-American candidate, but by the night of the Democratic Convention he's feeling idealistically burned-out. Just for a change, he accepts an invitation to a party given by the handsome former secretary of state, Early Quinlan, a conservative Democrat now running for the governorship of New York. At the party Jack meets and falls in love with Quinlan's daughter, Burry, a beautiful but flaky performance artist who is also Daddy's biggest fan. The two are immediately an item, both in sophisticated New York society and on the campaign trail. Jack leaves his job to undertake special projects for the Quinlan campaign--i.e., trying to dig up dirt on Republican gubernatorial candidate Joseph Vacca. Troubled by Quinlan's snobbish friends, Burry's disconcerting vagaries, and the callousness of the campaign's operatives, Jack finds himself increasingly sympathetic to Vacca, a sort of Cuomo/Giuliani composite. When not muckraking, Jack has a lot of sex, graphically described, smokes pot, and drinks too much. Both Burry and her dad, as well as politics in general, now seem shallow to him, and New York society is not much better. In the fall everything unravels at a set-piece campaign party, and a wiser Jack leaves town to live the simple life with his folks out west. Though Weiss tries hard to be funny as well as insightful, his political points and his characters, especially Jack, are more the stuff of clichÇ than high comedy or mordant political satire. An honorable try.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-374-12515-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1995