Run Catch Kiss

New York Times Book Review

July 25, 1999

Books in Brief

By Matthew Flamm

Nobody is quite normal in Amy Sohn’s first novel, “Run Catch Kiss,” a book that serves up a narrow but amusing view of the sexual life of fresh-from-college New Yorkers. When Ariel Steiner, the novel’s 22-year-old heroine – she’s a sex columnist for a downtown newspaper – compliments her date on his clean apartment, he explains that his roommate is a dominatrix, “so every couple days, a different man pays her to let him come over and straighten up.” Her best friend, Sara, has her own problems: after a night of “really violent sex, where he strangled me as I kicked him,” she says to Ariel, “I left his house feeling pretty good about things, but he hasn’t returned any of my calls since then.” Unfortunately for Ariel, her life isn’t always as colorful as she needs it to be in order to fill her column; she resorts to fabrications, which, once uncovered, prompt a citywide media scandal. Sohn, who writes a column in The New York Press that could be mistaken for her heroine’s, has an engaging voice, but she seems to have little idea about what should – or shouldn’t – go into a novel. Fantasy sequences run far too long, the prose sometimes has a Dear Diary quality, and you’re well past the book’s middle before the stream of misadventures begins to make sense as a story. Still, it’s hard not to be entertained by the hapless but indomitable Ariel, who can complain to a boyfriend that he is suddenly treating her like dirt “and we’ve only been going out like a week. Most guys take months.”