Candace Bushnell made her reputation as the creator of the HBO special Sex and the City
, based on her book of the same name
(based in turn on her eros-intensive New York Observer
column). In Four Blondes
, she returns with a quartet of novellas on her favorite subject--the mating habits of wealthy sex-, status-, and media-obsessed New Yorkers. These are people for whom a million or two does not make one rich, and who consider Louis Vuitton and Prada bare necessities. Janey Wilcox, for example, is a former model who each summer chooses a house in the Hamptons--or, rather, picks up a wealthy man with a pricey rental. With one movie in her past, her "lukewarm celebrity was established and she figured out pretty quickly that it could get her things and keep on getting them, as long as she maintained her standards." Yet even Janey eventually realizes that what she's getting isn't exactly what she wants. Cecelia, on the other hand, has gotten the ultimate prize: a royal husband. Still, she finds herself descending into paranoia as the Manhattan media circus reports her every flaw. Then there's Winnie Diekes, a high-powered magazine columnist whose marriage flounders as she pushes her unambitious husband to write the book that will make him--and her--famous.
Finally, in the most clearly autobiographical story, a writer gives up on the commitment-impaired men of New York and goes to London to find a husband. There she trolls for the typical Englishman--"a guy who had sex with his socks on, possessed a microscopic willy, and came in two minutes." Bushnell is famous for this sort of sexual brashness, and the book is full of her sharp wit, both in and out of the boudoir. She also clearly enjoys her characters and their misadventures, with one exception: the politically correct Winnie, with her distaste for alcohol, night life, and casual sex, inspires an odd sort of authorial contempt. Otherwise, though, Bushnell's ironic takes on the sexual foibles of the rich and famous are mordant, mischievous fun. --Lesley Reed
From Publishers Weekly
The author whose name is synonymous with her novel Sex and the City weighs in again with four loosely linked tales that form a sexually charged and withering analysis of how New York'sAand London'sAwomen work feverishly at their relationships, meanwhile trying desperately to make their names. In the first chapter, the bluntly scheming, semisuccessful model Janey Wilcox is in her 10th year of charming powerful, rich men into installing her in their Hamptons homes for the summer. The mutual benefits are obvious: the moguls get a gorgeous sex kitten to display and bed, while she summers in high style. When this arrangement leads to a few humiliating encounters, however, Janey tries her hand at screenwriting and attempts real estate school, but eventually she finds her fortune in a more realistic endeavor: a lucrative lingerie modeling contract. The next story features Winnie, a successful columnist married to a mediocre literary journalist. The victims of relentless ambition and disappointment, they lash one another with insults, each finding their only solace in one-night stands. The third tale is the paranoid confession of Cecelia, who wants to be "normal" and pops pills to mitigate her fear of being nothing without a man. The last blonde is an unnamed 40-year-old journalist who, disillusioned with Manhattan males, travels to London on a magazine assignment to compare English and American men's attitudes about sex. The Brit banter revolves entirely around sexual technique and penis size, but manages to be entertaining. Mostly, the novel is New York-centric, focused on the obsessions of desperate people and replete with glittering details to satisfy the most exacting fashionista. Though superficial, these characters' envy and spite rises from their fear of mortality, of dying without having left their mark. Mercilessly satirical, Bushnell's scathing insights and razor wit are laced with an understanding of this universal human fear, and they inspire fear and pity in the reader. Agent, Heather Schroder, ICM. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.