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Posted February 2, 2009
Following her well received first novel 'Me Times Three,' New York Times Magazine writer Alex Witchel serves a delicious witty diss of Manhattan's upper echelon - the very, very rich and the famous (both now and then). In other words, it is a strata where 'The rich always mattered most, and the well known - an ever-changing group of the hot then the not, who were the evening's equivalent of the entertainment - always mattered less.' Witchel's dialogue sparkles and descriptions are deft as she opens her tale with a posh Park Avenue dinner party where guests were 'murmuring over the string of Tissots that reached from the dining room entrance to the duplex's main stairway. It looked like an opening night at the Met.' Observing this scene while very much a part of it is Ponce Morris, a former model still knockout gorgeous at 42. A widow, Ponce has found a place for herself as a friend, one who shops or lunches with women and talks sports with the men. She's known for her agreeable nature and total disinterest in sex. (Not quite true). She has helped the recently divorced Jacqueline Posner put this evening together in order to show their small world that Jacqueline is fine, her design business is steady, and she has no mind to fade into obscurity (after all, a move to Gracie Square isn't exactly nowhere). The guests are an interesting group - most noteworthy is BabetteSteele a bosomy young assistant at a trendy magazine who has been invited to amuse Montrose Merriweather who likes his women younger as he grows older. Although Babette's writing ability seems to be a moot question she has made herself helpful at the office and wants very much to be a full-time staff member - wants it so much that when she discover Ponce and Dr. Neil Grossman are having torrid togetherness she decides to sell this juicy tidbit in order to prove her editorial mettle. Will she or won't she? Ponce, quite obviously, is an able adversary while additional alliances throw rocks on Babette's path to success. Alex Witchel wields a barbed pen with the best of them while she invites us to smile at the absurdity of the existences described. - Gail Cooke
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Posted July 27, 2009
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