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 Miracles do happen: an urban love story, Manhattan-set, in which the fact that two lovers have everything stacked against them--insanely controlling parents, manic workplaces, and their own confused selves--results in a brilliantly funny and even wise first novel. Like a 30-something Holden Caulfield trapped in a Dilbert-quality job, Barry Cantor can't help putting his foot in his mouth--usually when he's just won his point. Partner--track lawyer Justine Schiff--is his polar opposite: supremely in control, absurdly well-paid, completely type A. But the strain of her extremely public singledom and the effect of the blighted lives she sees around her at her patrician white-shoes law firm leave her wide open to a transformation the night her plane crashes on takeoff at LaGuardia. Bonding with seatmate Barry while throwing up together, Justine soon finds herself with a bed- and soul-mate who talks funny to waiters, leaves his underwear on the floor, and has for a roommate the billionaire's son who once jilted her. The tale unfolds in a New York minute, alternating between the glossy misery of Justine's Wall Street megadeals and Barry's valiant efforts to wrest meaning from selling novelty candies, in scenes that ring true and funny. The result is foreordained, but doesn't detract one whit from the ride--probably because, like a New York Jewish Hepburn and Tracy, Justine and Barry can make an uneventful evening at home crackle with wit and incident. Only the subplot with the billionaire's son eludes a tidy conclusion. From the peculiar angst of the rich and workaholic to the pinball rhythms of America's eternally boyish men, Block has taken the pulse of love in the '90s with verve and panache.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 1-56947-109-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997