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Libby Alexander, a powerful chronicler of New York high society, looks on in dismay as the new seriousness of the 1990s replaces the gaiety of the 1980s
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``...how many nights of my life was I expected to sit down to dinner in the Temple of Dendur with a drunk on one side and a troubled investment banker on the other as the Hank Lane Orchestra played Jeremiah was a bullfrog in my ear?'' How many, indeed, for Libby Alexander, the society scribe known as ``The Pimpernel,'' whose love-hate relationship with the world of the very well-heeled is the stuff of this style-crazy first novel? Libby is the daughter of a Madison Avenue couple who lost their silver ice buckets of money in an investment scam. She's turned to poison-pen journalism and, as ``The Pimpernel,'' gets invited to all the best parties--though even Libby can see that as the 80's close, it's definitely an after-the-ball kind of scene. Through her jaded eyes we take a pew at a by-invitation-only society funeral, slather brie on water-biscuits in living rooms that would make a ``perfect set for Blithe Spirit,'' go walking in Central Park with a gaggle of wealthy matrons who call themselves ``The Peabrains,'' and watch a water main break at the center of Libby's world--Madison and 69th Street. Meanwhile, she develops a hopeless crush on the reclusive Danny Gates--he of Gates Department Store. But because of her funny eyes and essential ``otherness,'' she stands aside and simply watches as Danny shacks up with Veronica, wife of billionaire inventor Jack Kahn. But Jack gets his revenge--and Veronica back--by buying Danny out, leaving Libby to write Danny's biography. The story is silly, but Baumgold (a contributing editor of New York magazine) depicts the world of the idle super-rich with the assurance of an insider, exercising her writerly chops everywhere, questing after the Truman Capote mantle. The result: a heavy-handed satire that'll amuse some--and send others groping for antacid. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Written with panache, candor and mordant humor, Baumgold's debut novel is a wicked send-up of the '80s, personified by the wretched excess of Manhattan's nouveau riche, socially obsessed billionaires and their pencil-thin, Chanel-clad wives. Her heroine, Libby Alexander, comes from a Jewish family who had old money before they carelessly lost it all. A graduate of the right dancing class and the right schools, Libby is privy to the activities and secrets of the luxury-flaunting echelon of society that she glamorizes in her gossip column, called The Pimpernel. Through Libby's cynical gaze and acerbic tongue, we meet a bevy of characters who are passionately into spending, partying and being validated by media attention. Like Tom Wolfe in The Bonfire of the Vanities , Baumgold has a sure feel for the authenticating details of the breed's sacred rites: the public serving of divorce papers at the de rigueur restaurant, attendance at the Winter Antiques show, etc. Though her large cast of characters are engaged in various kinds of infidelity and business betrayals, she focuses on the frenzied affair between Ralph Lauren-like mogul Danny Gates and the manipulative wife of another tycoon. Baumgold writes with just the right mix of disdain and empathy. Readers will devour her novel with mesmerized attention and unrestrained glee.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0679418059 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0679418059ZN
Book Description Knopf, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0679418059
Book Description Knopf, 1993. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0679418059
Book Description Knopf, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110679418059