cover image Urban Romance

Urban Romance

Nelson George. Putnam Publishing Group, $24.95 (284pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13865-2

A well-known critic of popular culture ( Buppies, B-Boys, Baps & Bohos ) George's first attempt at fiction is unfortunately clumsy. Dwayne Robinson, an aspiring music critic and intellectual bad boy from Brownsville (via St. John's University), falls in love with Danielle Embry, a dreamy Yale graduate from Connecticut who edits books for Doubleday but has her eye on the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Set in the early '80s, it gives the author an opportunity to show his wide knowledge of the b-boy subculture that Dwayne is busy writing about and that his friend Reggie is busy promoting. Dwayne struggles with his deepening feelings for Danielle while she, now in her first hectic year at Columbia, holds him at arm's length. Squabbles and tension are more frequent until Danielle realizes she is pregnant and the two must face decisions about commitment and ambition. George's characters are flat and the prose can be downright painful (``Danielle looked delicious, and Dwayne was grinning like he wanted a taste.''), retarding a potentially decent plot. (Jan.)