Books: Hustler


by Josh Greenfeld

Doubleday; 310 pages; $15.95

A philandering, drug-taking, crony-swindling rat of a ulm director comes back to Brooklyn for the funeral of his unbeloved mother and sets out on a three-day debauch that ends in the psychosomatic equivalent of a heart attack. That is not, perhaps, the stuff of box-office comedy, and, as a portrait of Hollywood, it seems less satire than neorealism. Yet by the final fadeout, Josh Greenfeld's novel turns out to be both uproariously funny and bitter as wormwood.

Greenfeld convincingly evokes the terrain where...

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