Picks and Pans Review: Under the Duvet

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

NONFICTION

by Marian Keyes

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Known for her beguiling comic novels about women on the verge of fulfillment, Irish writer Keyes turns to nonfiction in this charming collection of essays on such personal obsessions as gardening, babies, Botox and shoes. Imagine a female Seinfeld with a brogue.

Some of these short pieces may ring familiar to her readers (the pre-wedding mud wrap is similar to an episode in Last Chance Saloon), but others won't. In "Does My Base Chakra Look Big in This," she frets about her expanding "aura" during a New Age tantric dance, while in "Time's Arrow" she rues aging. She prattles on about her footwear-craving inner Imelda and froths over her dream job as a beauty columnist. To keep her writings from vaporizing, she reaches for weightier topics too, such as Catholicism ("Cheaper than Prozac") and alcoholism ("No one sets out to be an alcoholic. It certainly wasn't part of my life plan"). Yet she always lightens her journalism with a quip, sounding just like one of her novels' characters.

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