VINEGAR PUSS by S.J. Perelman


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Connoisseurs of early Perelman, he of the baroque hyperbole and the sachel of New York's garment center at high noon, will be immeasurably braced by this late renascence of one of the two humorists today worth a hill of paeans. Unlike Woody Allen, Perelman does not act, direct, or play a clarinet, but his aims are lofty -- the pursuit, for example, of the thoughtfully laundered shirt and, when abroad, foreign approximations of Broadway delis. Then there's his daring duplication of the circumnavigation of Verne's Phileas Fogg, accompanied by Perelman's Passepartoute, that ""toothsome cupcake"" Amazonian Sally-Lou. It was heigh-ho down the Persian Gulf in the S.S. Choleria with its purgatory of Brussels sprouts and fried plaice; afloat on the Indian Ocean in the good ship Moribunda, ahum with munching roaches; the Golden Bamboozle Hotel in Hong Kong, etc. In addition to other pieces about the sheer awfulness of life across the seas, are sad tales of business ventures gone awry (he invented a compact in the shape of a fried egg); cheerfully acidulous commentary on the arts (including the Napoleonic habits of Mike Todd, ""the little corpuscle""); tales of horror and revenge (sitting on a callous lady's Chihuahua) -- and more. The dudgeon is high; the punning deliciously low -- Perelman has come back into his own. Most of these pieces have appeared in the New Yorker.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: Simon & Schuster