There must be a reason why stridently feminist fiction falls into two camps: realist novels-of-manners that owe their inspiration to Jane Austen and the tradition she belongs to; and bohemian experimental train wrecks like Drexler's latest. After a couple of books from major publishers in the late '70s and early '80s (Starburn; Bad Guy), Drexler appears to have retreated to the academic fringe for this dialogue-intensive yarn narrated by Julia Maraini, a flip, glib, impoverished young video artist loping across the Manhattan art world's weird landscape, struggling to get an NEA grant so she can continue to work. The book is funny in a willfully absurd sort of way: Julia must contend with vaguely predatory landlords, sexually deviant Brazilian industrialists, a deranged husband, ditzy curators, dependent friends, and a couple of oddly named cops--Detective Flamingo and Detective Palm Trees--who keep showing up, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to interrogate and accuse. When Julia discovers a pair of skeletons in her garbage, she incorporates them into her ongoing video project, interviewing them with a supply of Beckettesque dialogue. The tape of these morbid proceedings disappears, only to return as a snuff flick starring the Brazilian industrialist, who has been writing letters to Julia describing his debauched exploits with cows and his daughter-in-law. All of this may be suitably kooky, but it's also mostly unreadable; unlike other American writers, among them Paul Auster, who cleave to witless, cloyingly hip European models for fiction, Drexler at least understands that surrealism isn't supposed to come with a moral, though she appears not to grasp that it requires a supreme clown to make it lively. Roaming the general Kathy Acker neighborhood, this protypically overhip novel will try the patience of even the most ardent enemy of conventional, patriarchal storytelling.