Picks and Pans Review: Love Me

updated 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Garrison Keillor

Keillor's latest novel has as much style as Jean Paul Gaultier's fall collection, and it's even funnier. Larry Wyler is a mediocre St. Paul scribbler. He's such a failure, he even fails at failure; his potboiler Spacious Skies inexplicably becomes a hit. So Wyler jettisons his do-gooder wife, Iris (who is so kind, she stores the grocery carts of mental patients in the garage), and hies himself to a gig at The New Yorker. Too bad it's run by the Mob and "Jerry" Salinger is bugging him with his idea for a Catcher in the Rye cookbook.

Love Me is fat with in-jokes about the literati, so if names like William Shawn and John Updike mean nothing to you, don't bother. As for another old New Yorker hand, S.J. Perelman, the spirit of his leaping metaphors and rococo wordplay roosts in every hilarious chapter: When shooting a mobster, "perforate him two or three times and vamoose." (Viking, $23.95)


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