DRAG QUEEN by Robert Rodi


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Another plateful of giddy meringue from Rodi (What They Did to Princess Paragon, 1994, etc.), the undisputed doyen of the effervescent gay novel of manners. In fact, this whole ribald affair in the guise of a novel turns on questions of etiquette, notably for Mitchell Sayer, a buttoned-up Chicago attorney who's been at least superficially accepted at his prestigious firm. The fey Mitchell appreciates life's fineries--the better to indulge his obsessions with order and success--but, still, he has trouble at work, where a barracuda female associate is gunning for his head. Things really begin to fall apart, though, when Mitchell's society-dame mother reveals for the first time that he's adopted and has a long-lost identical twin, Donald Sweet, also living in Chicago. Unbeknownst to Mitchell, Donald has been living a completely unsecret life as a gloomy cabaret drag act called Kitten Kaboodle. Mitchell has trouble accepting such news, of course, and Rodi thereby sets up the first in a series of wildly cloying symmetries: Mitchell is gay and accepted but can't accept his equally gay but radically less conservative kin; Mitchell has an aggressive yuppie lawyer after his job; Kitten has a vastly less-talented fellow drag actor (younger, of course) after the coveted club spot. The story is briefly sidetracked by the appearance of Zack Crespin, who takes a shine to Kitten (""a chick with a dick""), and by Mitchell's foray into a raunchy sexcapade. Still repulsed by his brother's choices, Mitchell contracts a team of ""deprogrammers"" to straighten him out, but they accidentally kidnap Zoe, Mitchell's rival in the firm. Predictably, it'll be Donald/Kitten to the rescue. The plot's flighty and incoherent, but when it congeals, the humor is merciless and swift.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1995
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dutton