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Elements of Styleby Wendy Wasserstein
Synopses & Reviews
Frankie completely forgot Samantha ever said she would call. But on a Thursday night while she was dressing for an exercise class the phone rang. Frankie decided to let the machine pick it up and concentrate instead on getting to the gym. If it was her office or something important, it would have been on her pager or the other line.
"Hi, this is Samantha Acton. Great to see you at the ballet." Frankie stared at her phone machine as if it were malfunctioning. "Will you come to dinner next Thursday? I mentioned to my husband, Charlie, that I saw you and he said he'd love for us to get together."
Frankie uncharacteristically lunged for the phone with her exercise tights still around her knees.
"Oh, hi, Samantha."
Oh, you're there. Screening, are you?
"I win a lot of free trips to Orlando. And then there's my father's wife, Helen."
"Oh, I remember her. She wore leopard while all our mothers were in tweeds."
"I'm amazed you remember her " Frankie was truly impressed.
"She was sexy, and you know, there wasn't a whole lot of that back then. So will you come?"
"Sure. I think so."
"Great. We live at East Sixty-sixth and Fifth, number 4. Say eight o'clock. Can’t wait. Charlie will be so pleased."
Frankie took her tights off her legs and sat down on the couch. She knew there was no way she would still be exercising tonight. Somewhere, she felt enough sense of accomplishment that after thirty years she was finally invited to the cool girls' table.
"I'm going upstairs to Acton." Frankie stopped at the white-gloved Fifth Avenue doorman.
"Elevator to your right."
As Frankie entered the formal lobby she wondered why Samantha didn't live somewhere hipper or less imposing. Then again, Christmas tree earrings in a room full of painters and filmmakers is a yawn. But in a room full of investment bankers and inherited wealth it's practically performance art.
The elevator door opened to a spare gallery of beige walls and Rothkos. A butler opened the door and a waiter appeared with a tray of caipirinhas.
"Can I take your coat?" the butler asked.
Frankie gave him her coat and, for some reason she didn't understand, her purse.
"Would you like to take your shoes off?"
Frankie actually didn't want to. They were suede boots which took her forever to get on. But she was too good a guest not to do what she was told. She sat down in the vestibule to remove them.
The multiple shades of beige continued into the living room. Even Frankie, who had virtually no sense of déeacute;cor, couldn't miss the deliberately understated eggshell and dusted cocoa linen couches, the bleached floors, the faded Gustave Lefèegrave;vre and Eugene Atget photographs on the walls, and the contemporary Cindy Shermans and Clifford Rosses in the corner. She decided that a speck of dust would never have the chutzpah to rear its head here.
Samantha walked into the room arm in arm with an elegant older-looking man. As far as Frankie could make out, Samantha was wearing Prada, or maybe it was Gucci, sheer silver-spangled bell-bottom pants and a sleeveless si
A dazzling mosaic of madcap social whirls, fashion, style, and mores captures the lives of New York City's urban upper crust as they make their way through twenty-first-century Manhattan in a post-9/11 world, in a comedic debut novel by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of The Heidi Chronicles. 100,000 first printing.
Elements of Style, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein's first novel, is a scathing comedy about New York's high society facing thepost-9/11 world. Francesca Weissman, an Upper East Side pediatrician rated number one by Manhattan magazine, floats on the fringes of the upper strata of privilege and aspiration. Through herbemused eyes we meet the thoroughbred socialite Samantha Acton; relentless social climber Judy Tremont; Barry Santorini, an Oscar-winning moviemaker accustomed to having his way; his supermarket heiress wife, Clarice; andmore, tossed together in a frothy stew of outrageous conspicuous consumption and adulterous affairs that play out on Page Six. But when Wasserstein's madcap tour of the social lives and mores oftwenty-first-century Manhattan veers into tragedy, we finally see the true cost of her characters' choices, and the beating heart of this dazzling novel.
From the TradePaperback edition.
About the Author
Wendy Wasserstein is the author of the the plays Uncommon Women and Others, Isn’t It Romantic, The Sisters Rosensweig, An American Daughter, and The Heidi Chronicles, for which she received a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and of the books, Bachelor Girls and Shiksa Goddess. She was admired both for the warmth and the satirical cool of her writing; each of her plays and books captures an essence of the time, makes us laugh and leaves us wiser. Wendy Wasserstein was born in 1950 in Brooklyn and died at the age of 55. Her daughter, Lucy Jane, lives in New York.
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