By Michael E. Ross
Updated September 23, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Toby Dodge, philosophy student and single white female, falls in love with Blase Regenhere, fledgling writer, in the heady days of ’80s Manhattan, when bright lights animate the big city and true love prevails (until Blase falls for someone else). Thus, this first novel by Merry McInerney — ex-wife of Jay McInerney — enters the literary realms of love and its bitter aftertaste in the rich, acid tradition of Nora Ephron and Carrie Fisher. But McInerney is undercut by her repeated insistence (in an author’s note) that the book really is fiction, despite the similarities to her real life. Though many of her characters emerge more as types than as personalities, she spins her story with the energy of a conversation with close friends. It might be more affecting if McInerney were less defensive about parallels between fiction and reality. It’s hard to be swept away by a novel when its author denies a feat of roman a clef. CMichael E. Ross