Friday, May 9, 2008

Non Fiction: Fatal Charms & Other Tales of Today

(Dominick Dunne, Bantam Books, 1988)
In the time since this book came out, Dominick Dunne has become rather a household name due to his presence on television hosting a regular show dealing with crimes amongst the rich, famous and privileged. Fun stuff on television, fun stuff as a book — especially since he has such a nice way with words. The thirteen pieces collected in this volume all come from Vanity Fair, and of varying quality and interest, but they are all a breeze to read – even if you don't give a shit about playing "Hide-and-Seek with Diane Keaton" or about "The Mortimer's Bunch." The Diane piece is pure fluff, as are most of the star-items included in the book. The article about Mortimer's, a NYC "in-place" for a type of person best described as "Amero-trash" — a race which might include "Euro-trash" but definitely has no "White Trash" — seems written for Middle America. (On the other hand, Amero-trash likes reading about itself, too, as such articles reaffirm their own importance to themselves.) But the crime coverage is definitely worth a gander. Dunne comes across like a literate, well-spoken and lightly bitchy gossip with all the right connections — which is what he is. It is almost hard to believe that he is (or at least was) a heterosexual.
Fatal Charms & Other Tales of Today is a regular staple on the shelves at most big secondhand stores, and the book is a pleasant bedside read for those who like their trash cultivated. The book might be out of date, but then, it doesn't include any information you'll ever need for a history test or on the average game show. But for the first story, Dunne's narration of the murder of his daughter and the farce of a trial that followed, Fatal Charms & Other Tales of Today is cotton candy but without the calories so enjoy.
Images: Both found on the Web. Above, the good book itself; below, the good author himself.

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