SMOKING HOPES by Victoria N. Alexander

SMOKING HOPES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Alexander, having been celebrated in the tabloids as the college instructor who danced topless to get material for this debut novel, shows more cheek than talent in a tale of a New York hostess who yearns both for the sea and her long-vanished husband but who finds a bad end in Tokyo instead. When her brutish Gottlieb decamped, Charlie Dean, a.k.a. Angel, fell into a funk, then resolved to become the ultimate desirable woman through implants, rib-removal, and every other cosmetic twist known. The result: a jaw-dropping eyeful, every man's most libidinous dream strutting her stuff on the streets of New York. But Charlie has a brain, too, which is what really makes the Japanese businessmen at Club Kiki, where she is a hostess, take notice. One of them, Hiro, wants to deepen his relationship with Angel, and with sizeable financial incentives and her lukewarm acquiescence, he succeeds. She leaves her East Village loft for his swank East Side pied-Ö-terre but quickly tires of the set-up and fakes an abduction in order to move out and disappear. Hiro tries in vain to see her, then returns to his neglected wife only to find that she has committed suicide. Charlie, meanwhile, boards a former coastal lightship, purchased by another of her Japanese admirers, to realize her ambition of sailing away from her troubles--although the ship is headed for Tokyo to become a floating casino, managed by, of all people, her ex. The titillations of travel give way to despair when the trip is over, and a botched suicide attempt prefigures Charlie's worse end, as she recovers only to be abused and poisoned by an avenging Hiro. No lack of come-on details here but also little narrative consistency as competing voices and plot twists make for an erratic multicultural mess.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 1-877946-69-9
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Permanent Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1996




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