Problems a Chinese Billionaire Can’t Solve

Nobody I knew personally got murdered in New York City, so the whole tragedy of Lucy’s friend’s death is entirely fictitious.  I never had any real dealings with homicide cops of any kind in New York City, although God knows there are have been so many hundreds of hours of TV police shows set in New York City that we all feel like we’re part of the NYPD. However, murder or no murder in my real life, this much is true:

We had a very good friend who lived the life ascribed to the woman who dies in the book, victim of her own willingness to suspend judgement when it came to men with money: a beautiful, talented, smart, funny and altogether wonderful soul who was so caught up in the get ahead, get rich, get famous world of New York that she couldn’t escape. She had to have that uptown apartment, and that endless supply of new clothes, and the European travel via the Concorde, and the famous and preferably wealthy friends. Above all she desperately wanted to be a bauble, a rich man’s kept woman if not wife, an object. For all her intelligence and talent and beauty, she saw herself as a sex object. She abandoned her principles and went after these characters whose stories were suspect at best, and complete bullshit most of the time. She fell in with one of them and he almost destroyed her. Then another. She got tangled up with this “guru” type guy who convinced her that her problems stemmed from some repressed sexual molestation her father had done to her way back when. She was convinced it was all Daddy’s fault. At a certain point in her life, she was hooked up with this old man from Brazil, a billionaire of Chinese heritage, who did exactly as described: bought her an apartment in Manhattan and covered her living expenses, no strings attached, other than that she be available to him on his infrequent but regular visits to New York to do business.

There were plenty of women who pretended, on hearing of this set-up, that they would go for it in a New York minute had they the choice. And yet, in the end, for Lucy, the stretch to make that accommodation was not quite there.

On the other hand Lucy had no trouble getting involved with a punk rocker, and later had no real qualms about taking hard drugs. She has her own problems, which surface in some crazy ways in this book as she deals with her family’s tragedies as well as those of her variously complicated friends.  She falls apart, but as per usual, has the wherewithal and the emotional strength to put herself back together. Know going in that there is some heartbreak in this story.

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