A comic look at contemporary New York follows Flip, a struggling actor; his boyfriend Warren, a psychic with a trust fund; and Flip's sister Rosie, a union organizer, who cope with the unique pressures of the trendy AllAmerican life. A first novel.
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Rachel Kranz has worked as a rank-and-file union organizer and a temporary secretary, and has won awards for her radio reporting and video documentaries. She is the founder of Theater of Necessity, where she turned portions of Leaps of Faith into a one-man play entitled Stunt Man. She lives in Manhattan, not too far from Washington Square Park.From Publishers Weekly:
In its eagerness to give voice to a multitude of characters, Kranz's huge, overpopulated, hyperkinetic novel of low-rent Manhattan life struggles to invest each voice with meaning. Centered on Flip, an aspiring actor (and bike messenger ), his boyfriend Warren (a psychic), Flip's sister, Rosie (a union organizer and all-around agitator), and Warren's sister, Madeleine (mentally unstable and absent in France), the novel is launched when Warren's rich and egregiously selfish WASP family informs him that he must take in Madeleine's biracial, bicultural eight-year-old daughter, Juliet, while Madeleine gets treatment at a French hospital. Meanwhile, Rosie is trying to coordinate a strike while suffering from fibroids (the novel abounds in graphic descriptions of menstruation), and Flip maniacally works one temp job after another between bit parts. In caring together for Juliet--the book's most sympathetic and sophisticated character--Flip and Warren find common ground, but Warren's trust fund and Flip's adventures in gay clubs constantly threaten their relationship. Filling in around the edges of this story are assorted actors, directors, teachers, lesbians, in-laws, daycare workers, Chelsea gym boys and still others, most of whom make brief appearances before disappearing altogether. In the end, the book's swollen cast proves too big, and each individual too self-absorbed: Flip with his insufferable bitchiness, Warren with his inner psychic "visions" and even Madeleine with her post-asylum pouting strain the reader's sympathies. Mostly composed of a series of theater-style monologues drifting into conventional narrative, the novel stretches the bounds of melodrama, but never transcends it. Kranz does offer a good wide-angle portrait of New York's multilayered populace (each character wears several different hats in any given day, to which most New Yorkers will relate), but it's not enough to tie the book's many different strands into a cohesive whole.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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