Gilbert Cruz
September 10, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Political Animal

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
David Mizner
publisher
Soho
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Set during a New York senatorial race at the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky unpleasantness, Mizner’s hilarious debut, Political Animal, follows Ben Bergin, a speechwriter for a Brooklyn congressman as he falls out of love with his candidate and in love with Calliope, a free-spirited volunteer wrangler. Mizner, a former speechwriter himself, provides a cast of campaign workers who all look and feel like hell — Ben being the prime example. Wearing stain-covered shirts and displaying abysmal hygiene, he cowers in the bathroom to escape work and drinks martinis on his lunch break. But Calliope chips away at his shell of sarcasm and vulgarity to discover that like most cynics, Ben is at heart a romantic idealist. With its winking yet perceptive tone, this unlikely love story wins my vote.

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