It's Christmas Eve in Manhattan. Harrison Hanafan, noted plastic surgeon, falls on his ass. So far, so good. 'Ya can't sit there all day, buddy, looking up people's skirts!' chides a weird gal in a coat like a duvet - Mimi! She kindly conjures for him the miracle of a taxi. Recuperating in his apartment with Schubert, Bette Davis, and a foundling cat, Harrison adds items to his life's work, a List of Melancholy Things (Walmart, puppetry, Velcro, whale eyes, shrimp-eating contests...). But when he receives a dreaded invitation to address his old school, Mimi reappears, with all her curves and chaos. She and Harrison fall emphatically in love. And, as their love-making reaches a whole new kind of climax, the sweet smell of revolution is in the air.
A curmudgeonly New Yorker discovers his inner feminist in Ellmann s incisive, witty sixth novel (after Doctors & Nurses). When noted plastic surgeon Harrison Hanafan slips on an icy patch of Madison Avenue sidewalk and sprains his ankle, he is aided by a wacko broad who puts him in a cab and then disappears. Harrison convalesces by listening to classical music, caring for a rescued stray cat, and panicking over the speech he s been asked to give for his high school alma mater when, suddenly, he encounters his mysterious savior and a quirky romance blooms. Mimi, his new love, proves a catalyst for discovering how much of his world revolves around the women in his life. He finds excitement and challenge with Mimi, a chief confidant in his older sister, Bee, and an adversary in his high-maintenance ex-girlfriend, Gertrude. Even his cat turns out to be female. When tragedy strikes, Harrison s ideas on women, culture, and society evolve even faster, and his conclusions crystallize into the speech of a lifetime. Ellmann s biting, absurd wit drives the oddball plot forward, and despite the tale s slow pace and Harrison s occasionally ponderous ramblings, at its heart is a memorable character with a unique voice and a provocative message.