Picks and Pans Review: Sushi for Beginners

UPDATED 06/09/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/09/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

By Marian Keyes

Lovelorn, ambitious London magazine editor Lisa Edwards is certain she's poised for a big promotion at Femme. But when she finally gets tapped to run a new rag, she learns she'll have to launch it in Dublin. It's a fate worse than being stripped of her cell phone: To Lisa, Ireland is social purgatory populated by the likes of the overly made-up assistant who is "a devotee of the More Is More school of slapplication."

In Keyes's sixth novel the staffers' dramas unfold with dashes of satire: The publishers tell Lisa to make the upstart magazine "nothing too clever. Forget downbeat features about female circumcision." But stale jokes about Los Angelenos (news flash: They don't like to walk!) and sushi, which becomes an overblown metaphor for love, could have used some wasabi. (William Morrow, $24.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Not so fresh

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