Judy Lopatin’s stories are smart and quirky, the work of a shrewd intelligence monitoring the voices of the Paris/New York not-quite-underworld. They deserve an audience.
These seventeen “romances” invent modern versions of Adventure, Obsession, Perversion — and even Love — with a cool hand and a spiky wit. Sometimes rendered in the tough-talking made of a 1940s pulp novel, sometimes as elegantly designed as an Art Deco hotel, this collection is populated by private eyes and Parisians, nurses and voyeurs, clairvoyants and hairdressers — not to mention ghosts, lunatics, punks, painters, prostitutes, fascists, and Famous People. From a trip through the cafes and opium dens of the Paris underground with Cocteau and Radiguet, to rumination on the strange powers of the photographer Weegee, to a glimpse of the very private life of a professional dominatrix, these stories feature the dreamers and schemers of life, love, and art. Simultaneously restless and meditative, Modern Romances infiltrates the glamour, dangerous desires, and secret delusions that reside in the heart and on the fringes of cosmopolitan life.
Judy Lopatin’s fictions bring us news of our culture through the distance-filter of her own special light. She is one of the most gifted young writers I’ve read.