Elements of Style: A Novel

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Knopf, 2006 - Fiction - 307 pages
1 Review
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of the essay collectionShiksa Goddess(“Utterly delicious”—Judith Thurman), a dazzling debut novel, a comedy about New York’s urban gentry living in a post-9/11 world—the arbiters of fashion and the doyennes of charity balls; about the rich and the nouveau rich(er), the glamorous and the desperate to be.

We meet Francesca Weissman, the Upper East Side pediatrician rated number one byManhattanmagazine, who takes us into the upper strata of privilege and aspiration (she’s originally from Queens with a father in hosiery; life on the fringes of glittering New York is fine with her) . . . Samantha Acton, thoroughbred descendant of the Van Rensselaers and the Carnegies, who defines the social order in the great tradition of Mrs. Astor and Babe Paley . . . Judy Tremont from Modesto, California, daughter of a cop—her life’s work, her obsession, is New York society and its richest families . . . Barry Santorini, Republican, moviemaker, winner of twelve Oscars, and his wife, the Italian supermarket heiress and former media rep for Giorgio Armani . . . and many more.

AsElements of Styleopens out, we see a madcap mosaic of the social lives and mores of twenty-first century Manhattan—of romance, work, family, and friendship. Satiric, fierce, touching—and deliciously Wasserstein.

“Pure Wendy! She effortlessly makes the leap from stage to page with a novel that is loving, compassionate, flat-out funny. Wendy loved the word ‘scintillating,’ which is the best way to describe her stunningElements of Style.
—John Guare

“Wasserstein gets the trappings and tribulations (of friendship and of romance) right, making her depiction of the rich and fab trying to connect with one another witty and entertaining.”
Publishers Weekly

“Bold, nimble, and funny to its fingertips,Elements of Styleis a delight, a triumph. A book that no self-respecting New Yorker should be without. Those cursed with the hell of multiple residences will self-evidently need several copies—and spares, for houseguests.”
—Flora Fraser

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Review: Elements of Style

User Review  - Mary Amato - Goodreads

I was in a Wendy Wasserstein play in college and was curious to read her first novel. The first chapter, full of descriptions of designer handbags, left me uninterested. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
11
Section 3
16
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

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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