Picks and Pans Review: Warm and Cold

updated 03/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

by David Mamet and Donald Sultan

Let's see. This book costs $19.95 and it contains 164 words, which figures out to roughly 12 cents a word. So we can at least be thankful that James Michener doesn't charge so much. Otherwise his novels would cost about $847,000 per copy. This book is, to be generous, an outrageous scam. True, in addition to those 164 words by playwright-screenwriter Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross, The Verdict, The Untouchables), there are nine drawings by Sultan, a painter. These are all black-and-white semiabstracts that resemble heavily edited Rorschach test ink blots. There are, in addition, two snapshots, presumably of the authors' children; one of these photographs is murky, the other clear and boring. This is supposed to be a children's book, but that didn't stop Mamet from using as a jacket photo an inspirational close-up of himself puffing on a ludicrously big cigar. (See, boys and girls, you stick this big cylindrical wad of burning leaves in your mouth and it makes you look really virile and cool.) His little story has to do with someone taking a trip away from those he or she loves. His epigrammatic language runs to such things as, "It's good to have good clothes on in which you feel powerful." The rest of it, too, resembles an entry for one of those contests in which people try to write bad Hemingwayesque prose. (Grove, $19.95)

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