Wry Martinis

Wry Martinis

5.0 3
by Christopher Buckley
     
 

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n the most inebriating humor book of the year, the author of Steaming to Bamboola and The White House Mess goes straight for the funny bone with essays and mischief that includes such gems of gullibility as the pope's appearance on Oprah, O.J. Simpson's search for a new apartment, the true story behind Whitewater, and so much more. Illustrations.


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Overview

n the most inebriating humor book of the year, the author of Steaming to Bamboola and The White House Mess goes straight for the funny bone with essays and mischief that includes such gems of gullibility as the pope's appearance on Oprah, O.J. Simpson's search for a new apartment, the true story behind Whitewater, and so much more. Illustrations.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of Thank You for Smoking has put together more than 65 bits and pieces of journeyman work (much of it very amusing indeed) from sources ranging from the New Yorker to the New York Times to Forbes to the Portsmith Abbey Alumni magazine. Touched on, usually quite briefly, are subjects such as mad cow disease (could the animals be used to counteract illegal emigration from Mexico?), drunken Yale undergraduates (a growth industry, it seems), presidential debates (which, he observes, would be improved if all involved had three martinis before things got under way) and the Unabomber (the next client of O.J.'s dream team?). There are also accounts of hoaxes successfully perpetrated by Buckley, including the well-publicized "rumor" that an impoverished Russia plans to auction off Lenin's embalmed corpse. The section called "Homage to Tom Clancy" is typical of the book's variety. It begins with a none-too-serious profile of the author written soon after the success of The Hunt for Red October, followed by a parody of Clancy as a U.S. senator, then a savage review of Debt of Honor (Clancy is "the James Fenimore Cooper of his day, which is to say the most successful bad writer of his generation"), followed by an exchange of actual faxes between an unamused Clancy and a puckish Buckley. As a comic, Buckley frequently suffers from the Saturday Night Live syndrome: his ideas are often funnier than his punch lines. But readers hell-bent on amusing themselves will find laughs enough here. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Library Journal
It has been, or is about to be, truly said that all compilations of periodical writings, even the best, lose something of their flavor, their immediacy, or whatever when put between the covers of a book. This observation is not likely to bother the reader who treats this collection of 66 essays, some written for the occasion but most unearthed from assorted periodicals, as it should be treated, i.e., dipped into at decent intervals. Judicious dippers will find an abundant range of topics in terms of time, scene, style, and subject that will by turns amuse, pique, entertain, and even annoy them. When Buckley (son of that famous William F. and author of Thank You for Smoking, LJ 4/1/94) hits on a topic, he sinks his teeth into it, and it doesn't take long for the reader to realize he has an acute sense of the ridiculous combined with a wicked gift for satire. Such subjects as Pat Robertson, houseguests, best-seller lists, O.J. Simpson, Whitewater, and Christmas, to name a few, take on new life. What Buckley seems to be saying is that life has its ironies. Recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/96.]-A.J. Anderson, Simmons Coll., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Despite a few sparks of wit, this lightly humorous collection of occasional pieces misfires badly.

Unlike many of his colleagues on the right, Buckley (Thank You for Smoking, 1994, etc.) does have a strong commitment to recycling. Witness this book, which seemingly contains almost every minor piece he's written in the last ten years, every sketch or scribble, no matter how irrelevant or outdated. At least half of these pieces (which first appeared in the New Yorker, Vogue, Forbes FYI, and elsewhere) are past their expiration date, viz. pallid humoresques on the Bush-Clinton debates, Prince Charles and Lady Di, Haiti, Pat Robertson, Richard Darman, et al. Worse, Buckley's humor rarely rises above amiable cocktail-party banter. Even in his more "timeless" pieces, such as those on the problems with programming VCRs, the burdens of unwanted houseguests, and swampy Washington D.C. summers, his prose usually overruns his ideas. Like the Metaphysical poets, his style is to yoke two unlike subjects together and hope something will happen. So we have letters from O.J. Simpson's lawyers to the Unabomber soliciting his case and Oprah interviewing the pope on his latest book. When he is not shilling tirelessly for laughs, Buckley is a perfectly competent reporter as well as a graceful stylist (he used to write speeches for President Bush). But do we really need to read his interview with Ann Landers or his eulogy for his former boss, Malcolm Forbes, or his regrets about not serving in Vietnam? These journalistic efforts aren't substantial enough to require republication.

These wry martinis make a good case for teetotaling.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307799876
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/07/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
374,019
File size:
4 MB

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