Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

The Lap of Luxury

by William Hamilton

“A brilliant site-survey of contemporary Manhattan manners. Perhaps more importantly, [Hamilton] has written a book that makes one laugh out loud for minutes at a time. . . . He writes in a fashion similar to, and every bit as successful as, Tom Wolfe.” –The Wall Street Journal

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date January 31, 1990
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8711-3342-7
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

This dazzling social satire maps the terra incognita of New York’s upper crust”an elegant jungle inhabited by a blue-blooded heiress and her handsome young artist, ladies who lunch and men who drink, blind ambition, trust funds, social climbers, Christie’s auctions galore and some very refined deviousness.

Vincent Booth, our well-meaning hero, having lost his artistic ambition to the comforts of caf” society and genteel employment, at last engages himself in the passionate pursuit of sex, money, and power, even though he can’t always tell them apart. His wife’s money has gained him entr”e to everywhere he’s wanted to be, and the gentle life has suited him well. Now, however, he wants to be in the arms of his mistress, the beautiful and sophisticated daughter of a Hollywood legend, who isn’t quite sure where she wants to be”although the morning slot on the leading network looks good, assuming she can break off her affair with the producer by using the same preternatural grace that began it. And Vincent’s secret hopes, pinned on a priceless painting being auctioned for a song, might well be dashed by treachery from a different quarter, his overly fond and too often snubbed superior at the museum. As these various collision courses rattle the crystal at some of the city’s finer restaurants and posher homes, it seems that sooner or later almost everyone in The Lap of Luxury is a little too much in the know.

Poor Vincent. After losing his job, his fortune, and the woman he (and several other men in the greater metropolitan area) thinks he loves, he hits rock bottom. How all this comes to pass, and how he finds his feet afterward, is the stuff of the wisest and wittiest entertainment imaginable.

Tags Literary

Praise

“A brilliant site-survey of contemporary Manhattan manners. Perhaps more importantly, [Hamilton] has written a book that makes one laugh out loud for minutes at a time. . . . He writes in a fashion similar to, and every bit as successful as, Tom Wolfe.” –The Wall Street Journal

“Smart, sharp, . . . witty, sophisticated and perceptive. . . . The best to be said of it–and this, in my view, is saying plenty–is that anyone who likes Hamilton’s cartoons will find much herein to enjoy.” –Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

“A plot that combines the erotic fever of a tango with the graceful precision of a minuet . . . elevates this entertaining farce to something knowing and profound.” –The Seattle Times

“A witty moral tale set in the New York art world [that] brings high society low in brief executioner’s phrases reminiscent of the early, impeccably nasty novels of Evelyn Waugh. . . . An equal-opportunity satirist, he goes after rich and poor, gay and straight, scholar and buffoon with the same ardor.” –Susan Cheever, The New York Times Book Review