Sunday 25 February 2018

Fiction: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell

Little, Brown €10.99

Candace Bushnell
Candace Bushnell
Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell Little

Margaret Carragher

Following the launch of Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City in the 1990s, many critics hailed the novelist and television producer as a genius. Others mocked SATC's frou-frou vibe, self-obsessed characters and glib storylines. Being in the latter camp I was curious to see how Bushnell's authorship skills had evolved.

Pandy "PJ" Wallis is a struggling New York-based writer who finally strikes gold by peddling the doings of her childhood creation, the "goldenest of golden girls", Monica. The success of Pandy's fictitious alter ego affords her a lifestyle replete with parties, pink fizz and dodgy hangers-on. Which is all very well until Pandy decides that she wants to be taken seriously as an author. But first, Monica must go.

From this dubious premise the narrative hurtles haphazardly between past and present, documenting Pandy's crazy lifestyle, disastrous marriage and bizarre love/hate relationship with Sondrabeth Schnowzer, the actress plucked from obscurity by Pandy to play Monica in the film and TV adaptations of her heroine.

Much has been made of the similarities between the fictitious Schnowzer and Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress who portrays Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Although Bushnell denies it, the semblance is too pointed to ignore. Why she'd bother with such a conceit is anyone's guess; but then there's no making sense of this tedious, long-winded and deeply unfunny tale.

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