Picks and Pans Review: Duluth

updated 06/06/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Gore Vidal

Like its real-life Minnesota counterpart, this fictional Duluth has bad winters, but there is also a desert nearby and Mexico is just over the border. The time is the future. The U.S. has several Presidents, one of whom makes all the TV appearances and talks about his early days in Hollywood. That, however, is just a mild touch in this wild spoof of absolutely everything: social pretenses, politics, motherhood, law enforcement, marriage, open marriage, racism, literature, television, science fiction and sex. Dozens of plots perk along at an amazing pace. Wetbacks attack Duluth's wealthiest citizens in their exclusive club. Hubert Humphrey turns up in a red, gooey spaceship. A beautiful female cop falls in love with a black bartender. The mother of a wealthy playboy dies in a snowbank, but then turns up as an actress in a TV show called Duluth. An illiterate leading society matron has a newsman lover who writes her best-selling books for her. This book is raunchy, dirty, outrageous, rife with clichés—and often very funny. It's full of violence, too. Vidal's mordantly comic view of America is not for the sensitive or for anyone who wants to protect the good name of the true Duluth. (Random House, $13.95)

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