By Megan Harlan
July 18, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Puttermesser Papers

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In this marvelous, moving novel, The Puttermesser Papers, one of Cynthia Ozick’s best, book-loving lawyer Ruth Puttermesser spends her days combating New York City government bureaucracy and her nights fantasizing intellectual idealistic glories — until she is elected mayor of the city with the magical help of a golem she accidentally creates while cleaning out her houseplant pots. Puttermesser’s attempts to turn Gotham into paradise is only one slyly comic episode that Ozick, as her ”biographer,” traces. But in each — from Puttermesser’s affair with a beautiful young painter to her death and peculiar, fitting afterlife — Ozick spins a brilliantly ironic fable on the double-edged nature of fulfillment. A

The Puttermesser Papers

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