Cover image for Swagbelly : a novel for today's gentleman
Swagbelly : a novel for today's gentleman
Levien, David.
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Publication Information:
New York : Plume, 2003.

Physical Description:
231 pages ; 21 cm
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Can $100 million buy respect? Elliot Grubman seems to have a life any other man would envy-unimaginable wealth, bachelor status, and his own magazine, Swagbelly("the magazine for today's gentleman"), which provides him with the companionship of a never-ending succession of Amazonian models with blonde hair, big chests, and tremendous bone structure. Yet, happiness eludes him. His wife left him for her rock-climbing instructor; his thirteen-year-old son refuses to be Bar Mitzvahed and is converting to Catholicism; his girlfriend may or may not be of legal age and may or may not be pregnant; and worst of all, for the last several weeks, Eliot has been unable to "perform." From acclaimed screenwriter and film director DJ Levien, Swagbellyis a wry, erotic, and hilariously satirical tale of a pornographer in search of a decent life.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This gleefully foul-mouthed novel follows the shameless exploits of a men's magazine publisher named Elliot Grubman. The story opens with the newly divorced protagonist engaged in a fit of mournful boasting about his sex life. He has had 35 partners in the space of a year, but even Grubman realizes that he is attractive only because he is absurdly rich; all of his girlfriends also happen to be employees who pose naked for his magazine, Swagbelly. In short, Grubman is a fairly despicable human being, one who leaves notes for his cleaning lady because, "If there is one thing I detest, it is instructing maids in person." Levien, a successful screenwriter (Rounders) and director (Knockaround Guys), puts an intriguing spin on the idea of the antihero. The Larry Flynt-like Grubman is sleazy, to be sure, but he aspires to respectability, and it is this conflict between commerce and karma that gives the novel its spark. A clever morality tale, despite reading on occasion like an overheated letter to Penthouse. --Kevin Canfield Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

HTen years after its mysterious disappearance, the space shuttle Venture returns to Earth covered in organic material, rewired with alien technology and missing all but one of its crew members. The dust in its wheel tracks indicates it has been on Mars and possibly other planets as well. The United States government drafts an ex-astronaut biologist, a brash young propulsion expert and a washed-out psychiatrist to piece together what happened to the Venture. Ellis has crafted a scientific mystery similar in structure to an issue of his acclaimed series Planetary. However, where the protagonists of that series are detached observers of the fantastic, here Ellis gives each character a personal stake in the investigation. Ellis has struck gold: his old talents for mad ideas and nuanced tough talk melds with a new optimism, giving this story an emotional depth far beyond that of typical sci-fi. Doran's art serves his story well, as she handles cataclysmic disaster scenes, detailed technical exposition and tender human moments with equal deftness. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved