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January 09, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

GOOD GOSSIP by Jacqueline Carey (Ivy Books: $4.99; 180 pp.). In these stories set in trendy lower Manhattan, Carey tries to create the heterosexual equivalent of the gay comedies of mannerisms epitomized by the fiction of Ethan Mordden, but the attempt doesn't quite come off. Barred by their sexuality from mainstream society, Mordden's men are forced to establish their own metropolitan counterculture. Carey's characters isolate themselves through their blind devotion to whatever is hot, hip or chic. A wittier writer might have made these recherche New Yorkers more amusing and less vapid, but Carey's pedestrian descriptions merely demonstrate how parochial the inhabitants of a major city can be.

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