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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of the essay collection Shiksa Goddess, comes 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 #1 by Manhattan magazine, 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 12 Oscars, and his wife, the Italian supermarket heiress and former media rep for Giorgio Armani; and many more.

As Elements of Style opens, we see a madcap mosaic of the social lives and mores of 21st century Manhattan, of romance, work, family, and friendship. Satiric, fierce, touching, and deliciously Wasserstein.

©2006 Wendy Wasserstein (P)2006 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I love the book!

I can't believe two people gave this book one star. I listened to the book three times and found it enjoyable every time. If you like park avenue princess stories like I do, this book is apparently with a lot of brain and irony. I also think the character development is done very well. One thing i can say for sure is that this book will not bore you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

What a Waste!

This book was something like a marriage between "The Nanny Diaries" and "The Great Gatsby" but without the style, emotion, or humor. Wasserstein's writing style is in itself good, however her character delevopement and story line lacked any depth. She should have stuck to plays where at least she could rely on actors' style and delivery to add a human element. This book was an awful waste of time - it was impossible to even figure out which characters are supposed to be protaganists, and which are the antagonists. All were so flat, humorless, and dry. I would not recommend.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • margaret
  • new orleans, Lao People's Democratic Republic
  • 11-01-07

Not a Good Choice

I got this book specifically because of Ms. Wasserstein's reputation as a playwrite, and because I felt her death was so untimely and a loss to the literary community. The book is awful. The characters are hateful. There is no plot line. What a shame. Do not waste your time.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Elements of Style

BORING! Blah, blah, blah. Could not wait for it to end. Dry writing style and short choppy setences. Didn't care for the "brand placement". Should have know by the title...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Read

This is a great novel by a great lady. Wendy Wasserstein's untimely death adds to the poignancy of this very wonderful story about the real and imagined trappings of beauty and fame. Wasserstein had the uncanny ability to profile the elite and make us see the ordinary in their fame and/or greatness. Don't miss this excellent read as it's Wasserstein's only novel. Her death is literature's loss.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful