Frank, Jeffrey 1942–
Frank, Jeffrey 1942–
Born April 10, 1942, in Baltimore, MD; son of Adam and Rachel Frank; married Diana Crone, March 17, 1967; children: one son. Education: Attended Knox College. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, music, hiking, Oriental art, nineteenth-century Scandinavian literature.
New Yorker, New York, NY, senior editor; editor for Letter from Washington (Washington correspondents' newsletter); has also worked as a writer or editor for the Washington Star, Buffalo Courier-Express, Washington Post, and Random House.
The Creep (novel), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1968.
The Columnist (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
(Selector and translator, with wife, Diana Crone Frank) The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, illustrations by Vilhelm Pedersen and Lorenz Frøelich, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.
Bad Publicity (novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
Trudy Hopedale, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.
Jeffrey Frank wrote his first novel, The Creep, when he was just twenty-two years old. Upon the book's publication in 1968, a Virginia Quarterly Review contributor commented: "With an unheroic hero, bumbling, ineffectual, and evidently repulsive on sight, Mr. Frank has adroitly created for his character sketch the very portrait of a lonely man, introspective, adrift, and friendless in a large and underresponsive city. His … study is a pointed one, wringing with pathos one moment and slyly inducing derisive laughter the next." Frank, who has worked extensively in newspaper and magazine journalism since the publication of the The Creep, did not produce another novel for more than three decades. "But writing fiction has always been the thing I love most, and it's a completely different thing and different kind of energy," the author noted in an interview for Mediabistro.com.
In his 2001 novel, The Columnist, Frank draws on his years of experience in reporting and publishing to tell the story of an aging Brandon Sladder, who has established his successful career as a Washington pundit by destroying others' careers. The story is revealed as Sladder writes his memoir and reminisces about his sordid past, from exacting revenge on his father to using prostitutes to get inside information from politicians. "The Columnist may not be the ‘Gettysburg Address,’ but it comes closer to perfectly satirizing a certain Washington type than anything else I've read," wrote Christopher Buckley in the Washington Monthly. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented: "The political material is enlightening and well delivered…. The result is a witty, racy and fast-moving novel that remains compelling despite its odious protagonist." Noting that the novel "packs a curiously subtle wallop," Eric Alterman, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, commented: "The Columnist is a marvelously fitting tribute to the men and women who make it—and remake it—every Sunday morning."
Frank's next novel, Bad Publicity, continues to examine the realms of power in Washington, DC Washed-up former congressman Charlie Dingleman suddenly finds himself in line for a job in the White House—until he insults his junior law associate Judith Grust, who then sets out to destroy his new opportunity. Charlie's image consultants are there to help, but they are dealing with their own problems as Charlie's career appears doomed. "What brings this ship of fools to unforgettable life is Frank's heartlessly deadpan way of deflating their most cherished desires, from their petty scrabbling for 15 minutes of fame to their hilariously untitillating couplings," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the author "pokes fun at power seekers on both sides of the aisle, political insiders for whom a sentence of ‘obscurity without parole’ is the worst possible fate." Barbara Conaty, writing in the Library Journal, called the novel a "satiric tour de force."
With Trudy Hopedale, Frank offers readers a send-up of the Clinton administration and a time when every other news story referred in some way to the president's sex life. The title character is a society hostess with a television show who is living in Washington, DC, during the summer of 2000. Trudy's husband, who was once in the foreign service, has written a racy novel that inches scandalously close to revealing vital political information, while Trudy herself in embroiled in a less-than-satisfactory affair with a senator. Donald, a friend of Trudy's, has his own potentially disastrous issues, including accusations of plagiarism. In Kirkus Reviews, one critic felt that "the satire comes off as alternately too broad and just plain irrelevant," dubbing the book a "hit-and-miss snapshot of the way we live now." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly acknowledged weaknesses with the novel, but concluded that "Frank's lively writing and sharp eye for … the ‘soiled town’ that is political Washington, carry the day."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Columbia Journalism Review, July, 2001, Eric Alterman, review of The Columnist, p. 62.
Harper's, May, 1968, review of The Creep.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2003, review of Bad Publicity, p. 1288; June 1, 2007, review of Trudy Hopedale.
Library Journal, January, 2004, Barbara Conaty, review of Bad Publicity, p. 155.
Newsweek, October 6, 2003, Elise Soukup, review of The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2001, review of The Columnist, p. 49; November 3, 2003, review of Bad Publicity, p. 51; November 24, 2003, review of The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, p. 66; April 30, 2007, review of Trudy Hopedale, p. 134.
Saturday Review, January 6, 1968, review of The Creep.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1968, review of The Creep.
Washington Monthly, May, 2001, Christopher Buckley, review of The Columnist, p. 50.
Jeffrey Frank Web site,http://jeffreyfrank.com (November 20, 2005).
Mediabistro.com,http://www.mediabistro.com/ (January 30, 2004), David S. Hirschman, interview with Jeffrey Frank.