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Pure Drivel


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About the Author

Steve Martin is a celebrated writer, actor, and performer. His film credits include Father of the Bride, Parenthood and The Spanish Prisoner, as well as Roxanne, L.A. Story, and Bowfinger, for which he also wrote the screenplays. He's won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, he has written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and a bestselling novella, Shopgirl. His work appears frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Times. He lives in New York and Los Angeles.


These short humor pieces, many of which first appeared in the New Yorker, represent a mixed bag. While actor/ comedian/writer Martin consistently comes up with clever lines, his conceits soar only about as often as they peter out. His opening offer, "A Public Apology," takes the politician's mea culpa to deadpan, ridiculous heights: "I had sex with a hundred-and-two-year old male turtle. It would be hard to argue that it was consensual." But the next piece, "Writing is Easy!" contains such clunkers as "Naked Belligerent Panties" as a recommended topic for up-and-coming writers. Martin's zones of inquiry include science, language, show biz and, of course, mating. Among the stand-outs: "Dear Amanda" recounts the belles lettres of mannerly stalker; "Taping My Friends" trips into a paranoid universe; "I Love Loosely" brings Lucy & Ricky to the "oral sex isn't sex debate;" and "Artist Lost to Zoloft" laments how pharmaceuticals affect the avant-garde. But the title piece (okay, it's just called "Drivel"), which concerns a duo linked by hyper-conscious irony, shows Martin straining for laughs. (Sept.)

"Martin is a gorgeous writer capable of being at once melancholy and tart, achingly innocent and astonishingly ironic. He is a master at revealing the surreal poetry in pure drivel."--Elle
"Like the fuzzy little puff of marabou on the instep of a coquette's satin bedroom slipper . . . Martin's book of diminutive, often hilarious essays [is] . . . effortless and silly even as it's subtly erudite."--Salon

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