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Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Tracy Quan
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.95
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

This is the diary of Nancy Chan, turn-of-the-millennium call girl, who lives and works on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Although she’s in her thirties, she’s at the top of her career–a better twenty-five-year-old today than when she was twenty-five. Most of her regulars don’t realize how long she’s been working. Her new fiancé, Matt, an up-and-coming M.B.A. on Wall Street, does know her age and how long she’s been working but not what she does for a living. And at least for the time being, Nancy wants to keep it that way.

Nancy is full of contradictory desires. She frequently has to choose between making love and making money. On good days, she gets to do both. Surrounded by devoted, wealthy, and powerful johns, some of whom want more than just sex, and caught between two complicated call girl friends who, shall we say, make her life more interesting than it really needs to be–not to mention an unwitting fiancé who has started to apartment hunt and arrange a wedding–Nancy navigates the tricky currents of the world’s oldest profession. With one foot in the bedrooms of her rich and demanding clients and one in the straight world of her fiancé and his family, Nancy demonstrates, in her inimitable fashion, that if you know the dance, you can keep those two worlds from colliding. At least for a while.

Based on the highly successful column “Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl,” this wonderfully intelligent, sexually frank, rollicking novel gives us fresh insight into the machinations and politics of being an expensive call girl in the modern world. Tracy Quan pulls no punches, gives no apologies, and has written one of the best and most honest books yet on the topic.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In timely step with stories glorifying characters created for video games, Quan's semi-autobiographical novel takes readers by the hand (and various other appendages) at the tail end of call girl Nancy Chan's career. Chan (whom Quan created for her Salon online column) is a "successful" (read: expensive) prostitute who spends more time listing her favorite clothes, restaurants and cosmetic tips than even Bret Easton Ellis did in American Psycho. In between $400-per-hour quickies at exclusive hotels, Nancy and her happy hooker pals Jasmine and Allison attend sex-industry activist meetings and debate the sinister reappearance of Jack, a former john who now appears to be obsessed with Allison. Nancy whines about this and her deepening relationship with her commitment-minded boyfriend to her shrink, also revealing how she plunged into prostitution as a teen. The novel has neither a substantial plot (Nancy dithering over whether to marry her dream boyfriend and get out of the life) nor sex appeal: Nancy's descriptions of her sensual encounters, be they professional or personal, are about as erotic as a stereo instruction manual ("always do a few extra Kegels afterwards"). Fans of Quan's online column may enjoy the continuation of Nancy's X-rated soap opera, but first-time readers may be put off by her snobbishness.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Quan, who put her career as an elite Manhattan prostitute on hold to become a writer, is the author of a popular column chronicling the adventures of fictional call girl Nancy Chan. Those biweekly installments grew into this reality-based novel. Nancy's central dilemma, hashed out in her diary and with her shrink, Dr. Wendy, is whether to give up hooking when she becomes engaged to her sweet Wall Street-whiz boyfriend, Matt. Her two best friends (and colleagues), Allison and Jasmine, offer little support on this front. Jasmine is firmly against marriage, and Allison, who is 30 going on 19, is too obsessed with her own problems (including her foray into the sex workers' activist movement) to be of any help. The descriptions of Nancy's "dates" read like soft porn, but Quan does pose some interesting questions about gender and sexuality and a certain brand of "sex-positive" feminism (represented by writers like Camille Paglia and Susie Bright). But the main point here is to be erotic and playful. Quan manages both in a book that makes perfect beach reading. Beth Warrell
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 693 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0012RMVAC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,801 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By janeyb
Nancy Chan lunches with her friends. She shops. She visits her shrink. She works out. She worries about her fiance. She frets about money. She can't find a cab in the rain. She dreads going before a co-op board. She lives an utterly Manhattan existence except for the fact that she's a call girl. Tracy Quan has created a humorous novel that discusses the life and times of a modern call-girl in a matter-of-fact way. She talks about sex with clients in the same way she discusses working out. A kegel here, an ab crunch there. They're both just simple parts of her life. Nancy's clients are an interesting and accomplished and older bunch, and her fondness for them is apparent. They add depth and color to the novel. These are not "Johns" in the typical sense. As Nancy travels around town, she encounters a cast of characters we have not seen anywhere else. A call-girl who graduated from being a drug dealer. A call-girl who graduated from the Ivy League. Sex-worker activists. Sex-worker groupies. A fiance whose sister works for the District Attorney. A fiance who works on Wall Street. Nancy doesn't just play her life for laughs. We learn about her childhood in Canada and her youth in London, where she turned tricks in hotel bars. There were scary moments on the job, so she doesn't glorify her profession. But she demonstrates courage and perseveres, until we find her at the top of her game, able to efficiently address a client's needs without mussing her hair or making her late for dinner with the in-laws to be.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and touching August 22, 2001
By A Customer
This is a delight: brisk, full of witty and subtle human observation, spicy in its frank and clear-eyed evocation of the high-end hooker's life. The prevailing tone is madcap comedy in alternation with a drier humor, but the author makes surprisingly moving detours into reminiscence and reflection; nobody will have trouble empathizing with the splendidly confused heroine. Tip: for fullest appreciation, log on to and read the 50 or so episodes of Nancy Chan's life that lead up to the starting point of the novel.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's about time December 17, 2005
As a twentysomething, college educated female who has experience working as a professional escort, I was very eager to get my hands on this book. The popular media invariably portrays all sex workers as disenfranchised, lowly women who are in the trade due to desperation.

This is a vast misrepresentation; escorting can be fun, profitable, and even romantic. Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl provides a much needed voice of balance. The main character, Nancy Chan, is working as a high-class call girl because she *wants to*, not because she *has to*. This is an important distinction amid a sea of media propaganda about the world of escorting.

Nancy has been drawn to escorting for a number of reasons: she loves the money, she loves the excitement, etc. At the same time, she wants to have a "conventional relationship."

The sections in this book that described Nancy's inner dialog reminded me of my own situation. I won't list any spoilers here, but the novel presents the idea that a woman who works for a stint as a call girl can still find married love and upper-middle class respectability. The book even suggests that the two can exist concurrently--a theme which the author apparently explores in a sequel to this novel.

I also liked the descriptions of the sex scenes. Whereas sex between an escort and a client are usually portrayed (in the mainstream media) as seedy exploitation, Nancy Chan's bedroom romps with clients are decribed as playful, naughty encounters.

At just under 300 pages, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl is short enough to be a fairly quick read for the attention deficit challenged. The emotional conflicts, suspense, and the sex scenes will keep you turning the pages.

In summary--a welcome and much overdue addition to the world of chick lit!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the characters came alive for me October 17, 2001
Quan's character-driven story of a pricey call girl stewing over both important life decisions and day-to-day trivia was fascinating to me because she and I have both worked in the same profession but have had such very different experiences. Where my work has mainly been "small town," Quan has worked as an upscale, uptown, chic and elite call girl. Quan's writing has been eye-opening for me because she shows another way of approaching the work -- another life altogether.
But this isn't just a book about escorting and escorts and it's appeal is much broader than self-referential reading for other sex workers. This is a book about life, choices, fears and successes that everyone has in one form or another. More than describing the life of a call girl, Quan is describing the life of a Manhattanite. Stand aside, Seinfeld; step back, Sex and the City -- Nancy Chan owns New York!
The characters are absolutely fascinating; I devoured this book. I've got my fingers crossed for a sequel -- I want more!
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fact or fiction? June 6, 2002
By A Customer
Been there, done that, and the bottom line being, this book tends to glorify and create a sad misconception of a dark, consuming lifestyle. If her quasi-memoirs happen to encourage naive young ladies into the "game", then she ought to feel ashamed for herself for most will encounter a nightmare of the likes they've never seen before.
I was once a so-called pimp (writing my own memoirs at the moment) and the garbage I was witness to, troubled me deeply. This was on the up-scale level, escort side of the equation. Not the street. The freaks in this business knows no demographic: Rich, poor, culutured, plebeian, race, color, or creed. They walk amongst them all...
I have yet to encounter a book by a former sex trade worker that truly tells it like it is without shamelessly glorifying their perception of themselves and more often than not, continuing the denial (a prerequisite to remain in the game) in the failing hope of hanging on to what little self esteem remains, if any at all.
I was very disappointed and found it to be a boring read as she meandered through her tale. It was a struggle to finish the book. I was that turned off. It's like comparing Disney flicks to pornography. That's how far removed it is from real life. Part fiction? All fiction is more like it. Replete with a sacharin-sweet, candy covered coating. Ugh...
A book that truly tells of the darkness is "Children In the Game" by Ross McInness (former Calgary vice detective). I have seen the fear, the horror, and the pain as it is depicted between those very pages. If you want the truth, by his book!
(retired administrator, formerly of Ambrosia's Allure -
a once high-end Toronto escort service)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book is hilarious. Very well written and a quick read.
Published 8 days ago by gina
3.0 out of 5 stars The climax is missing!!
It wasn't too bad - I mean, it was fluff, of course, but quite enjoyable fluff - till her "computer crashed" right before the climax. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Laural
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!
I thought the book was great. I didn't mind the diary style at all, and it kept my attention the whole time. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Kri_Bri
1.0 out of 5 stars boring
This book was boring and not as good as the other hooker books. I thought it would be juicy it was too boring for my taste. Don't buy, save your money.
Published on May 6, 2013 by Le Magicien.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great...ending was a bit confusing as it left out quite a bit of detail. Will definitely read more by this author
Published on December 23, 2012 by Erica
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
It was well done, not my usual read but went along quite well. I enjoyed it.. Would recommend it to anyone who likes a good cops and robbers type read... Read more
Published on November 5, 2012 by HobbyHorse
3.0 out of 5 stars guh
this book was plot really just vivid sex dreams i at least thought there would be a problem that needed solving.... some of the characters are just plain annoying.....
Published on January 8, 2011 by uberlala
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly, fun read.
I enjoyed the sarcastic, light mood of the writer. The book goes from sexy to hilarious from one page to another, and it was enjoyable to read before bed.
Published on June 25, 2010 by Veronica Biancci
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype, this book isn't that good
This book is as brainless as "Sex and the City." I certainly wish that I didn't get the book from [...], I could have checked it out from the library. Read more
Published on May 9, 2010 by OAT
1.0 out of 5 stars not worth a call out
I found this book quite frustrating and more like a mills and boons - it simply didnt cut it and the characters were frustrating and repitive ,in fact it was all about the... Read more
Published on December 9, 2009 by funkkydiva
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More About the Author

Tracy Quan is the bestselling author of the Nancy Chan call-girl trilogy, which began as a serial novel on During childhood, she harbored thoughts of becoming a novelist, but her first meaningful career (which now provides the inspiration for her fiction) was not in publishing...

A frequent contributor to The Daily Beast, The Guardian website and The Drawbridge, she writes about pop culture, sex and politics from a unique perspective. Michelle Obama, Mary Magdalene and Winnie-the-Pooh have been recent subjects, along with scandal prone lads such as Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer. She has also written for the New York Times, Financial Times, South China Morning Post and numerous other publications.

Tracy, who can't get enough medieval history, is a recovering Enid Blyton addict, prefers Twitter to Facebook and lives in Manhattan, the setting of her first two novels.

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