FROG SALAD by Sally George


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Imagine a version of Laurie Colwin's Happy All the Time (i.e. a modern champagne comedy) with women who are all actively lesbian (or have been so in the past), with men who reel from women's liberation, and with a vague sense of loss as these people see their Sixties earnestness moving them only into jobs or gentrified apartments in Brooklyn. Imagine all that--plus an antic wildness--and you'll have a pretty good idea of George's promising first novel. Among her cast of hapless characters: Ben, who has a city job forging official signatures on permits and paints gorgeous, faintly creepy super-realist canvasses of food by night; Janet, a publishing-house editor who seriously contemplates plastic surgery in order to gain herself her very own penis; ex-model Tara, now a book-illustrator, who lusts after Puerto Rican teenage girls; and Michael, a bewildered young exec, who is fired and slips into depression and lassitude. Michael's slump is so serious, in fact, that (in order to shake him up, get him out of himself) three of the women friends band together and mug him in Prospect Park. And this sense of outlandishness keeps perking throughout--though it sometimes falls flat, as does the author's excess winsomeness. Still, you won't find a speck of ideology, fake nostalgia, or self-pity here; and the zaniness is of a sophisticated, unstressed sort. So George's debut novel is quite often winning--and she clearly registers as a comic novelist with a future.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1981
Publisher: Scribners