Picks and Pans Review: Wasted Beauty

updated 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Eric Bogosian

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The double entendre in the title of Bogosian's second novel refers to Reba Cook, a farm girl discovered by a lensman while she's chowing down at a Manhattan McDonald's. The leggy 20-year-old is signed to a modeling agency, and her life unravels when she develops a taste for heroin. Bogosian balances the black humor of Reba's life against the story of Rick, a sex-obsessed doctor who can't stand his wife or kids. In one sequence, he deconstructs Internet porn through Rick's eyes: "Maybe the girl posed for one session five years ago...now the picture is being endlessly recycled? Maybe these women have renounced sex and become nuns? But digital photos never die...." When Reba meets Rick, he learns the hard way that family life really isn't that bad. Bogosian jumps between narratives, building to a taut climax. Bottom line? Modeling is bad for your health.


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