SHADES OF FORTUNE by Stephen Birmingham
Kirkus Star


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Birmingham's back, and in snappy, top form, at once satisfying the pop-fiction reader's taste for life-styles of the opulent and treacherous, and craftily sending them up. As usual, his stage is filthy rich New York, and his characters are Jewish--fine, upstanding "assimilated Jews" (in the words of this novel's familial head-honcho), and the other kind--"Old World Jews. They live in places like Kew Gardens." The very assimilated and wealthy Myersons--about whom this book revolves--live at 1107 Fifth Avenue and own a cosmetics company called Miray, headed up by lovely, savvy Mimi. She's about to break into the perfume market, so she gets the family together to announce her plans. What a brood! There's Granny Flo, who acts senile but is not; unctuous Edwee, married to a not-too-swift blonde but willing to play around with Mimi's perfume cover-boy, also lusting after his mother's Goya (which she's about to donate to the Met); bitter Nonie, who, like someone we all know, sometimes find herself leaving Saks with unpaid-for merchandise; Mimi's suave husband, Brad, embark- on a first extramarital intrigue; and Mimi herself, who has a hard time making all these silly people pay attention to her plans--and a harder time yet avoiding a takeover attempt launched by a real-estate tycoon who also happens to be a still-interested old beau. Meanwhile, secrets about the Miray Company's past are unearthed when a Fortune magazine reporter comes snooping around; Edwee tries his hand at forgery and then blackmail in order to get the canvas; Mimi avoids the persistent Trump clone and takeover; and Edwee sums things up: 'I mean so vulgar. The cosmetics business. Not much better than the rag business, is it? So Jewish." To which Nonie replies, "Well, Edwee dear, we are Jewish." Dishy, trashy, funny, twisty--and deservedly headed for best-seller lists.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1989
ISBN: 316-09655-5
Publisher: Little, Brown
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