Peter Lefcourt's fifth novel is a fun, deftly done, slow-motion political pratfall. It's set in the slime pit of Congressional politics--Vermont's junior senator, Woody White, is struggling to get himself reelected. He's besieged by a panoply of problems: his trophy wife is sleeping with a Finnish ice skater of the female variety; Trent Lott's pissed because White bashed his car in the Senate parking lot; he's being manipulated not only by a shady maple-syrup magnate but also the Togolese government; and, the coup de grāce for any Clinton-era pol, he can't keep up a decent erection.
The Woody is a classically constructed farce, with each misstep and muck-up piling on the ones below it, until it seems there's no way anything will work out. But eventually, miraculously, ridiculously, it does. Lefcourt offers enough twists and turns--and winking nods to real-life figures and scandals--to make for an enjoyable ride. Of course, if you take politics seriously, The Woody may be too close to the truth for comfort, but rest assured it's much, much funnier than those real-life shenanigans. The misadventures of Senator White will keep readers at all points on the political spectrum giggling for days. --Michael Gerber