Monday, July 26, 2010


Leonard Michaels could take his short stories anywhere he wanted and he did, and he never needed to buy them a chocolate finger afterwards although that probably would have been nice. The New Yorkers populating his stories observe hilarious pretensions, smoke cigars and wear nice jackets. I may do one of those things very well. They are self-loathing sartorialists, which is great because it's a phase I went through the other day momentarily when all of a sudden I found myself in the chinos section at Ross-Dress-for-Less and a pair of delectable CK slacks were opening their pantlegs for me (snagged the last pair too).

Michaels' characters go to orgiastic parties where ecstasy and death are interchangeable. I probably wouldn't go to a party where ecstasy and death was interchangeable, nor would that description pique my interest; in fact I would go so far as to say that is the most unflattering description I have ever heard, but having said all that and knowing what I now know, I would go to a party where ecstasy and death were interchangeable in order to read a book where ecstasy and death were interchangeable at parties.

Given the sophisticated milieu Michaels is mining, I find it refreshing the number of times people puke in his stories. Also the heart attacks are the most accurately described I've encountered in contemporary America. But to be honest, as besotted as I am with Mr. Michaels, I can't help but feel that I would be a little letdown if he was Al Pacino's size.

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