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Leap Year [Paperback]

Peter Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 7 1998
t is 1988, just two years away from "the decade of friendship," and there is still time on the clock for all the greed and need of the 80s to wreak havoc on the lives of this ensemble cast of distressed but endearing New Yorkers. With razor sharp wit and great comic invention, Leap Year charts the uneasy paths people take around the physical and emotional land mines of city life. The score of quirky characters ricochet back and forth between downtown lofts, art galleries, health clubs, restaurants--even a sperm bank--in the attempt to discover fame, fortune, and true love. In this leap year, however, everything seems slightly awry, as unexpected affairs, an accidental kidnapping, catering disasters, murder, and a regrettable amount of bad publicity turns everyone's lives upside down. Peter Cameron's Leap Year is a comic valentine to a frenzied era, serving up the lusts and laments of an entire generation with great wit and affection.
With its large and lively cast of gay and straight characters, Leap Year is a comic satire with the same appeal as Armistad Maupin's Tales of the City novels.
The many fans of Peter Cameron's brilliant novels The Weekend and Andorra now have the opportunity to read the long out-of-print debut novel of one of America's finest writers.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A funny, fast-paced and ambitious first novel by a New Yorker writer whose stories were previously collected in One Way or Another , this romantic comedy (previously published in weekly installments in 7 Days ) chronicles a year in the life of New Yorkers lost in the twilight of the '80s. Loren and David have been separated for several months; David is torn between love for his family (they have a daughter, Kate) and passion for his male temp, Heath; Loren, now seeing Gregory, can't seem to stop loving David. While Heath struggles with the discomfort he feels at loving an older, shorter, bisexual man, Lillian, Loren and David's lonely mutual friend, consults a sperm bank; and Judith, Loren's mother (taking a sabbatical from her marriage at her husband's request) begins an affair with an Asian named Fang. Villains include scheming Amanda Paine, director of an art gallery, and Solange and Anton Shawangunk, its jaded, perverse and ultra-rich co-owners. What happens to Solange at the opening of the show Amanda gives Heath (who is an artist as well as a temp) is among the events raised above simple comedy or melodrama by Cameron's focus on issues of sexual responsibility and his resonant, jewel-like prose.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Originally published in 7 Days magazine, this first novel reveals skill, a dark sense of humor, and, best of all, the promise of better novels to come. Despite some rather frenetic crosscutting and a tendency toward the tour de force , it cleverly satirizes a number of quirky characters caught up in events that include an earthquake, a kidnapping, voodoo at a Day Care Center, and a murder trial. Loren and David, amiably divorced, involved with lovers, and raising their daughter, unify the novel. Other characters have at times slightly contrived connections with them. Despite the emphasis on empty lives caught up in success and sex, the author provides some likable characters, allowing the reader a sense of relief when all turns out well for them. A good choice for current and selective collections.
-Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
I wanted to read the book a chapter at a time, the way it originally appeared, but I could not. I gulped it all down in two sittings. (It's not my fault: it's not only wise and funny but definitely a "page-turner.") Most of the characters ultimately prove to be better than they seemed. As in his later books, Cameron creates a range of interesting characters (female and male, gay and straight). That he can make New Yorkers sympathetic shows either great imagination or great skill! I even felt some sympathy for the unredeemed villainess and the two weak men she used in nefarious plots.
Like Armistead Maupin's tales of an interlinked but diverse cast of mostly young San Franciscans a decade earlier, Cameron's tales of New Yorkers in their early 30s are not sexually graphic. There are a few hints, but mostly it is relationships and love, not sex, that is his subject. Drugs are also invisible.
A lot happens to Cameron's characters and I was sorry to leave them behind when I reached the end.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
Peter Cameron's Leap Year has one terrible flaw: it ends. After about the second page, one realizes this will be a problem. This is the sort of book that should be, oh, 1,200 pages or so. At least. Alas, It's a tight, beautifully crafted book with not a wasted word among the graceful bunch. It's hillarious, so be forewarned; you will laugh out loud, often. You may be the only laughing person on the bus or in the Dentist's reception area, and you should expect the stares in advance. The people he creates are people you wish you knew. You will feel the same sadness I felt when you don't see their names on the speed-dial button on your phone. And it took all the willpower I have not to read it all at once, but to make it last. It lasted two days. Leap Year is the kind of book that makes you wish you had a minor head injury after reading, so that you could turn around and read it again, fresh. Another amazing thing about the book is that despite being so hillariou! s, it's very poetic. You'll pull your head back from the page more than once and appreciate the line you just read. Think: Sylvia Plath on Prozac. This book has many twists and turns, and many different notes, none of them, not a single one, false.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars a witty yet warm trip back to the 80's July 22 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A new (yet old) book by Peter Cameron! What a pleasant surprise. He wrote Leap Year in the 1980's for the short-lived NYC weekly "7-days." The novel reads quickly but has all the compassion and intelligence of his other works. These are characters that you will not soon forget.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hillarious and brilliant, if only it didn't have to end. July 20 1998
By eaglesalad@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Peter Cameron's Leap Year has one terrible flaw: it ends. After about the second page, one realizes this will be a problem. This is the sort of book that should be, oh, 1,200 pages or so. At least. Alas, It's a tight, beautifully crafted book with not a wasted word among the graceful bunch. It's hillarious, so be forewarned; you will laugh out loud, often. You may be the only laughing person on the bus or in the Dentist's reception area, and you should expect the stares in advance. The people he creates are people you wish you knew. You will feel the same sadness I felt when you don't see their names on the speed-dial button on your phone. And it took all the willpower I have not to read it all at once, but to make it last. It lasted two days. Leap Year is the kind of book that makes you wish you had a minor head injury after reading, so that you could turn around and read it again, fresh. Another amazing thing about the book is that despite being so hillariou! s, it's very poetic. You'll pull your head back from the page more than once and appreciate the line you just read. Think: Sylvia Plath on Prozac. This book has many twists and turns, and many different notes, none of them, not a single one, false.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A witty and compassionate first novel of 1988 NYC circles Aug. 24 2002
By Stephen O. Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I wanted to read the book a chapter at a time, the way it originally appeared, but I could not. I gulped it all down in two sittings. (It's not my fault: it's not only wise and funny but definitely a "page-turner.") Most of the characters ultimately prove to be better than they seemed. As in his later books, Cameron creates a range of interesting characters (female and male, gay and straight). That he can make New Yorkers sympathetic shows either great imagination or great skill! I even felt some sympathy for the unredeemed villainess and the two weak men she used in nefarious plots.
Like Armistead Maupin's tales of an interlinked but diverse cast of mostly young San Franciscans a decade earlier, Cameron's tales of New Yorkers in their early 30s are not sexually graphic. There are a few hints, but mostly it is relationships and love, not sex, that is his subject. Drugs are also invisible.
A lot happens to Cameron's characters and I was sorry to leave them behind when I reached the end.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a witty yet warm trip back to the 80's July 22 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A new (yet old) book by Peter Cameron! What a pleasant surprise. He wrote Leap Year in the 1980's for the short-lived NYC weekly "7-days." The novel reads quickly but has all the compassion and intelligence of his other works. These are characters that you will not soon forget.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NYC 1988 Nov. 25 2009
By K. L. Cotugno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thank heavens for the recognition of Peter Cameron as a major novelist. Has this taken over 20 years? This wonderful book, Leap Year, is a snapshot of the late 80's, most definitely rooted in that time. Books set in NY hold a special appeal -- with the limitless combination of personalities, how they intersect and ensnarl. The City acts not so much as a backdrop as a character. Each character is vibrantly brought to life, with snatches of laugh out loud humor. ("[She] knew better than to fall apart on the street. Only common people fell apart on the street. She would do it in Bonwit's.")

Lorrie Moore, in a recent interview in San Francisco, referred to Cameron while discussing her "day job" as a reviewer. She was musing over the fact that Cameron was considered a "niche" author, which surprised her. Nowadays the inclusion of mixed races and sexual orientations are taken for granted in pop culture. And thank heavens it has finally arrived.
5.0 out of 5 stars So much fun Jan. 7 2014
By Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Witty, fast-paced and completely entertaining. Anyone who has lived in New York will recognize these characters, and their upscale semi-comic dilemmas.
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