Elinor Lipman, a genuinely gifted writer of light fiction, has a lovely formula down pat, as her 10th novel, The View from Penthouse B, proves. First, she gathers an ensemble cast whose problems and preoccupations prove wonderfully entertaining, then plunks them down in an alluring milieu. (Penthouse B is the crown jewel of the Batavia, an art deco building in the West Village.) Then, once everybody has happily suspended disbelief, Lipman sets the hook, reeling her readers in with snappy dialogue, epigrammatic descriptions, and plots that demand to be read right through to their inevitably happy endings.
About the Author
Fernanda Moore, a frequent contributor to Commentary, wrote last month about George Saunders.