Dunne's novel is a comedy of manners with tragic overtones, set in New York. Gus Bailey, a divorced journalist and Hollywood refugee, is the confidant of New York society, perfectly positioned to observe the machinations of its moneyed elite. A wedding, a death and an inheritance precipitate a social explosion in the world of "People Like Us". ...
Dunne's novel is a comedy of manners with tragic overtones, set in New York. Gus Bailey, a divorced journalist and Hollywood refugee, is the confidant of New York society, perfectly positioned to observe the machinations of its moneyed elite. A wedding, a death and an inheritance precipitate a social explosion in the world of "People Like Us". Dominick Dunne is the author of "The Two Mrs Grenvilles", "Fatal Charms" and "The Winners".
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Publishers Weekly, 1988-05-13 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)
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