LOVE TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS by Veronica Geng

LOVE TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The latest collection (following Partners, 1984) of Geng's brief, mildly diverting parodies and satires--most of which appeared originally in The New Yorker. One of Geng's favorite tricks--and one of her most effective--entails lampooning cultural trends and literary styles simultaneously. In ""The TwiNight Zone,"" she spoofs Rod Serling's brain-child in the statistic-stuffed voice of Bill (Baseball Abstract) James. In the title essay, an amusing but one-joke affair, each sentence spoken by a hard-boiled detective contains the phrases ""Mr. Reagan"" and ""read Proust"" (""I glanced over at the dame sleeping next to me, and all of a sudden I wanted some other dame, the way you see Mr. Reagan on TV and all of a sudden you get a yen to read Proust"")--a repetition inspired by something Geng read in the Village Voice, as she reveals in her afterword. In fact, every essay has a gossipy, discardable appendix--sometimes longer than the essay itself--that gabs about Geng's chums, her career, and how the piece came about. Some pieces do show blood, however, especially the brilliant ""Settling an Old Score,"" wherein George Bernard Shaw meets LBJ, and ""Mario Cabot's School Days,"" an alternate history with Thomas Noguchi as US President. Other winners poke fun at paranoid voters, company inventory reports, ""900"" telephone numbers, Pat Robertson, and similar trendy items. Somewhere between Wilde and a whoopie cushion on the wit scale; closer to Wilde in terms of wordplay and invention; perilously close to the cushion in its silly overinflation.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1988
Publisher: Harper & Row