SNEAKY PEOPLE by Thomas Berger


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Berger's seventh novel comes out of the area of the American mind now occupied by Bonnie and Clyde (a darker side of Scott and Zelda. . .) -- out of a used-car lot in a Midwestern small town of the late '30's where Buddy Sandifer makes a damned good high-pressure living for his prunish wife Naomi (you will learn much later that she writes porn compulsively under a pseudonym), his budding adolescent son Ralph, and his whorish mistress Laveme, a former carhop and prostitute. During the course of a weekend when Buddy plans to have Naomi murdered, his son becomes fatuously attached to Laverne whom he meets along his grocery route; while at the last minute, Buddy changes his mind about Naomi. . . . Berger sketches in his minor characters like that housewife whose major talent is putting up wallpaper so the seams are invisible. They're symmetrical all right: in their sexual frustration, their fears of leaving home, their dreams circumscribed to Sears & Roebuck merchandise and eight-page porn booklets hidden in the sock drawer. One liar after another is ""working on his first million"" with one hand in the till, the other in his pants. Berger manages to be visually true to type and entertaining while tuning in to the contradictions of polite mores at the same time -- and his sneaky people have more honesty and strength than any he's written about since Little Big Man.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1975
ISBN: 0743257952
Publisher: Simon & Schuster