Dominick Dunne is the author of five bestselling novels, two collections of essays, and, most recently, The Way We Lived Then, a memoir with photographs. He is Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair and lives in New York City and Hadlyme, Connecticut.
Best-selling author ( The Two Mrs. Grenvilles , 1985) and Vanity Fair contributor Dunne presents a contemporary comedy of manners (really a satirical ``tragedy of morals'') that examines the values of Manhattan's old families and ``nouveau riche'' alike. Juxtaposed against the problems of opulent ``Social Register'' types at the ``best'' parties are basic issues with far-reaching consequences, often escaping the understanding of these inbred members of high society. When disasters touch those at the top, their lives must be reshaped, enabling some to restructure their existences more realistically. Discerning readers will find much to ponder within sublevels of this entertaining story. Highly recommended. Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.
First, forget that this is a roman a clef: it might give additional thrills to New Yorkers and subjects of Liz Smith and Suzy's society columns, but Dunne's novel is entirely enjoyable if one has never heard of, let alone dined at, Mortimer's. People Like Us opens with the entrance into Clarence's, a smart New York restaurant, of Gus Bailey and Ruby Renthal. Gus has recently been released from prison, and Ruby is rarely seen in society anymore. Then the author swoops back in time to begin chronicling a dizzying round of parties and gossip and gossip and parties. This is a world whose bible is the Social Register and where lavish gifts to the Metropolitan Opera can procure entree to the chintz-bedecked drawing-rooms of families who are as snobbish as any described by Edith Wharton. Dunne (The Two Mrs. Grenvilles) has created Gus Bailey, one of the few decent characters here, in his own image. The last scene in the book is a reprise of the first, but by this time we know that Gus served time for shooting the killer of his daughter and that Ruby has been ostracized by New York society because her husband was jailed for financial offenses. The point is that Gus and Ruby don't care anymore about whether they get a good table at Clarence's. People Like Us is witty, wise, compassionate, and a darn good read. (June)
"A masterly popular novel . . . by a man who knows-along with F.
Scott Fitzgerald-that the rich are very different. And wonderfully
"Dead-on-target."-New York Times Book Review
"Spicy."-Los Angeles Times
"Wickedly sharp."-Philadelphia Inquirer