Sohn, Amy 1973-
SOHN, Amy 1973-
PERSONAL: Born 1973, in Brooklyn, NY. Education: Brown University, B.A.
ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
CAREER: Professional storyteller. Writer of column, "Female Trouble," for New York Press; Writer of "Naked City" column in New York magazine.
Run Catch Kiss, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of articles to Playgirl and Details.
SIDELIGHTS: Amy Sohn's Run Catch Kiss is a "hip first novel," declared reviewer Yvonne Crittenden in the Toronto Sun, "a recognizably autobiographical take on her own career writing about sex and the single girl in New York in the '90s." Sohn, who writes a column called "Naked City" for New York magazine, has created a novel about modern urban life among the Gen-Xers—a novel replete with graphic sexual misadventures and humor—that in may ways echoes her own column.
Protagonist Ariel Steiner travels to New York City after graduating from Brown University with hopes of setting herself up as a stage actress. Her hopes are frustrated, however, and she becomes an office temporary employee "and dating lots of freaks and losers," explained Kathleen Hughes in her Booklist review of the novel. Finally, she turns to writing as a release from the drudgery of her life. She writes a humorous piece recounting one of her lackluster dates and mails it to a New York paper. The editors enjoy the material so much that they offer Steiner a weekly column about her problems seeking good sex on the streets, in the bars, and in the offices of New York City. "This is convenient for Ariel," wrote Beth Gibbs in her Library Journal review, "because she goes through men faster than dead-end temp jobs." Soon Steiner is encountering and writing about her brief associations with "minor rock stars, heroin addicts, bipolar ex-temple-youth-group members, and lesbian beat reporters," observed Boston Phoenix reviewer Devra First, all of which are fictional stories she creates for her column. These "fabrications," explained Daniel Rietz in his New York Times Book Review critique of the novel, "once uncovered, prompt a citywide media scandal." Steiner slowly comes to the realization that she is actually looking for the same thing that generations of women have sought before her: a normal, nice man who is a good lover and an understanding partner.
In general, reviewers enjoyed Sohn's novel. First compared Sohn's work to the hit television program Friends because of its concentration on the lives of "single urban twentysomethings," with the exception that it replaces the interaction with lots of casual sex. However, she added, the novel is in some ways disappointing: "It might engage your prurient interest, but what's the good of that when your heart's not in it? It's rather, as a friend pointed out, like bad sex itself: a fine one-night stand of a read." Other reviewers were more complimentary. "Sohn's writing, with its graphic sex, can be smug or comical," wrote the Publishers Weekly reviewer, "but she's best when imperious snugglebunny Ariel lets her guard down and confronts her humiliations with honesty and pluck." Gibbs praised Sohn's "witty language," and Hughes concluded by calling the book "a funny, honest, and enjoyable read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1999, p. 1798.
Boston Phoenix, July 29-August 5, 1999.
Library Journal, June 15, 1999, p. 106.
New York Times Book Review, July 25, 1999, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, May 31, 1999, p. 64.
Toronto Sun, August 29, 1999.*