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Dazzle
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New or Used: 5 copies from $4.94
Jazz Kilkullen is a captivating, complex creature who could exist only in the 1990s. With two male partners, she owns a huge photographers' studio in California and has a blazingly successful career. Her tumultuous life is enlivened by three vastly different men who all have a passion for her.
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Encountering characters named Jazz (nee Juanita Isabella) Kilkullian and Crumpet Ives, there's no doubt that one has entered the la-la land of Krantz, the doyenne of dish. The erstwhile mistress of the un-put-downable novel, however, has come a cropper in her latest effort: the seams and strain are a bit too evident. The narrative careens giddily among the lives and loves of Jazz, a brilliant celebrity photographer somewhere between Avedon and Mapplethorpe; her rugged rancher father, whose passion has ebbed following the death of Jazz's mother, a legendary Swedish film star (Bergman, anyone?), but whose flames are rekindled by an only slightly over-the-hill model; Jazz's two half-sisters, Valerie and Fernanda, awash in a variety of sexual activities--and lack thereof; and assorted paramours of the above, too numerous (and too forgettable) to mention. Never a disciple of realism, Krantz's interweaving of plots here is too contrived and her relationships, both familial and amatory, too oblique. Her purple prose takes on ever deeper hues, and her customary parade of hyperbolic description is in constant evidence. Jazz's tresses, for example, are variously presented as ``cornflake-colored,'' ``streaked with every color from chutney to tortoiseshell'' and ``French toast, a little burned around the edges, with melted butter streaking over it.'' One hardly knows whether to commend Lady Clairol or Julia Child. 500,000 first printing; first serial to Cosmopolitan; BOMC main; major ad/promo; author tour. (Jan.)

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