Amy Sohn lives in New York, where she writes a raunchy column for the New York Press
called "Female Trouble." Her first novel features a young woman named Ariel Steiner, who lives in New York and writes a raunchy column called "Run Catch Kiss" for City Week
. Any other similarities between author and creation are, no doubt, purely accidental. We first meet Ariel the summer after her graduation from college when she returns to the city, ready to resume the acting career she had as a child. Unfortunately, college not only enlarged Ariel's mind--it had a broadening effect on her body as well. "I can't send you out for any ingenue parts until you lose fifteen pounds," her agent tells her. Ariel is sure this won't take long and indulges in an optimistic fantasy about the fame and fortune that will soon come her way once she's lost the weight--an appearance in a George C. Wolfe production; a walk-on in a George Clooney film; an Oscar-winning performance in a Woody Allen movie, complete with requisite Oscar fantasy: "I'd bring my father as my date, and when Jack Palance opened the envelope and announced me as the winner, I'd run up to the stage in a strapless Chanel and they'd cut to a shot of my dad drowning in a sea of his own mucus." But until the day when Ariel Steiner becomes the third part of a Hollywood girl-triumvirate comprised of herself, Gwyneth, and Winona, a girl's got to eat; and so begins a ribaldly picaresque journey from actress wannabe to infamous New York sex columnist--"the Hester Prynne of downtown."
Run Catch Kiss is a novel that will appeal to a very specific audience--fans of Amy Sohn; young college graduates who'd like to imagine it's really this easy to achieve notoriety in a city like New York; and readers who enjoy lots of name-dropping, club-hopping, and frank descriptions of sex and other bodily functions. Sohn includes several of Ariel's columns ("Stench of a Woman," for example, or "Smutlife") as well as the letters she gets in response. In between, Ariel and her cronies and assorted one-night stands hang out in places with names like BarF and BarBarella, and drop pop references to Gen-X movies and music. Sohn delivers it all up with moxie, making up for the novel's literary weaknesses by sheer full-frontal outrageousness. --Alix Wilber
From Publishers Weekly
Life imitates art for a 22-year-old downtown Manhattan sex columnist in Sohn's raunchy, scathing and slippery debut. Ariel Steiner, an aspiring actress, sexpot and self-described failure, retreats to her parents' Brooklyn Heights home the summer after graduating from Brown. Scrambling in vain for a glamorous career and boyfriend, she settles for a temp secretary job to a woman she calls "Corposhit," using lunch hour to audition for "fat-girl" parts (she never lost her "freshman fifteen" pounds). The heroine has chutzpah, though, a quality that wins her the title role in a tacky musical, Lolita: Rock On, and humiliating dates with unsavory men. Fed up with the "overall suck quotient" of her summer, she submits a blow-by-blow account of her sexual frustrations to a downtown weekly paper and is instantly offered a column, entitled "Run Catch Kiss"Aa kind of "perils of Pauline from a slacker slut perspective." The newspaper is modeled on the actual New York Press, for which Sohn writes a similar column, and this novel retreads much of that material. Ariel enjoys a kind of creepy, thrilling notoriety, replete with fan and hate mail, until she begins embellishing her stories to compensate for her real-life love doldrums and runs into trouble with the newspaper's management. Sohn's writing, with its graphic sex, can be smug or comical, but she's best when imperious snugglebunny Ariel lets her guard down and confronts her humiliations with honesty and pluck. The portrait of Ariel's parents is sympathetic, even witty, in contrast to her mostly narcissistic goofball boyfriends. Sohn's take on the Gen-X dating scene mirrors her skewering of showbiz and journalism, and while readers may not believe that deep down Ariel is just a nice Jewish girl looking for love and success, many will agree that she's brash, smart, fearless and funny. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.