Cover image for Peyton Amberg : a novel
Peyton Amberg : a novel
Janowitz, Tama.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
335 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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n her sizzling new novel, Tama Janowitz moves beyond the world of the single woman, and now targets a young woman growing ever restless in her marriage, and ever hopeful that the next bed will produce someone more exciting. As she moves from man to man, Peyton Amberg slowly but surely loses her youth-fulness, her good looks, even her sanity, as her paramours become rougher. A savvy riff on the classic figure of Madame Bovary, Peyton Amberg is a caustic and brilliant satire of con-temporary marriage, as it charts the free-floating lust and exploits of a woman yearning for fulfillment outside of rigid societal structure. Peyton Amberg is nasty, funny, sarcastic, sear-ingly honest, and mesmerizing from beginning to end.

Author Notes

Tama Janowitz exploded into the literary scene in 1986 with her second book, the New York Times bestselling The Slaves of New York . She has received two National Endowment for the Arts awards for fiction and the Alfred Hodder Fellowship in the Humanities from Princeton University. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and the New York Times Magazine and has been translated into twenty languages. Peyton Amberg is her ninth book and a collection of her non-fiction is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press. Tama Janowitz lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Billed as a modern-day Madame Bovary,anowitz's tenth book traces the rise and eventual ruin of a woman who believes her only resource is her beauty. Bored with her job and desperate to move out of her family's filthy apartment, Peyton marries the first man who asks. She's soon disenchanted with marriage and drifts into a series of infidelities. When her beauty begins to fade, her increasingly desperate need for male attention drives her into situations at first merely humiliating but ultimately degrading and dangerous.anowitz's eye for the sordid detail is as merciless as ever, and she's in her element describing Peyton's squalid childhood home, her drug-addled and delusional mother, her increasingly dreary succession of affairs, and her nebbishy husband. Ultimately, though, the ferocity of her writing underscores the novel's major flaw: Peyton is so ineffectual and passive, and the supporting characters so uniformly unappealing, that there is little to care about in the story of her downfall.anowitz built a following with Slaves of New York (1986), one of the defining books of the 1980s, and she also won acclaim for her recent novel A Certain Age (1999). Readers will be interested in her latest. --Meredith Parets Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Peyton Amberg is a travel agent who really gets around-in more ways than one. In her latest no-holds-barred take on urban malaise, Janowitz (Slaves of New York, etc.) chronicles the international romps of a modern-day Madame Bovary. With her stunning looks ("usually it would be impossible to find a man who, physically, was her equal"), Peyton has no trouble luring men to bed, but under pressure from her manic-depressive mother, she hastily marries an unsuspecting dentist for money and out of fear that no one else will deem her marriageable. Struck with a bout of ennui after her wedding and tired of trying to live up to the expectations of her in-laws, she rushes back to work and almost immediately takes a cheap trip to Brazil, where she meets a debonair German-Italian man, Germano. In the first of many misadventures, Peyton holes up with Germano in her hotel room, where she is wined and dined and otherwise entertained. With her libido unleashed, she finds it next to impossible to return to a normal life in her apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and she pulls further away from her husband and, eventually, her young son. Though she perceives herself as self-sufficient, she becomes more and more addicted to her extramarital hanky panky ("A monkey in the zoo... could not have gone on a wilder bender on a weekend pass from its cage"), finding satisfaction in the beds of gangster Xian Rong in Hong Kong and cowboy Sandy in Vegas. Peyton's overactive id and sense of dissatisfaction seem a bit contrived at times, and her comeuppance rather old-fashioned, but Janowitz's trademark mix of humor and gross-out realism give the novel a queasy charge. Author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

A married woman loses everything as she tramps from paramour to paramour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.