GOOD FAITH (2003) "My hobby is making a billion dollars. After I have it my hobby will be spending it," the fallible hero of Smiley's thick field study… 2003-04-22 Fiction
Book Review

GOOD FAITH (2003)

EW's GRADE
C+

Details Release Date: Apr 22, 2003; Writer: Jane Smiley; Genre: Fiction

''My hobby is making a billion dollars. After I have it my hobby will be spending it,'' the fallible hero of Smiley's thick field study of a novel announces, and he's only half kidding. Good Faith surveys deal-greedy, deregulated 1980s America through the increasingly risky business and romantic transactions of a divorced suburban Realtor and pronounces the whole decade a scam dressed up as an irresistible offer. But since Smiley clearly has indictment on her mind from the get-go, the undifferentiated characters -- all of them suspiciously articulate -- begin to feel more like arguments on legs than real people. (Even a couple of racy sex scenes have an educational subtext.) Indeed, lessons spill out of the mouths of these garrulous Americans the way other folks say ''howdy.''

Originally posted Apr 25, 2003 Published in issue #706-707 Apr 25, 2003 Order article reprints