Quirky characters are a dime a dozen, but truly believable, lovable ones are not--a fact that makes Landvik's (Patty Jane's...



Quirky characters are a dime a dozen, but truly believable, lovable ones are not--a fact that makes Landvik's (Patty Jane's House of Curl, 1995) latest slice of American life a genuine pleasure. As chapters are narrated alternately by several characters, the reader swiftly becomes privy to the secrets of many in cozy White Falls, Minnesota. Lifelong friends Devera and BiDi are handling the rapid approach to 40 in their own unique ways: BiDi maintains a youthful zest by speeding through life, tossing off zinging one-liners along the way, while Devera begins a tawdry, slightly embarrassing affair with scrawny and supercilious Gerhart Ludwig, her night-class history professor. Blissfully ignorant, Devera's husband Dick happily runs the family Cadillac dealership and dreams of opening a swanky nightclub: Your Oasis on Flame Lake. BiDi's charismatic second husband Sergio (first husband Big Mike ran off to be born again) is successfully launching a chain of gourmet cake shops and conducting an innocent long-term affair. Darcy--Dick and Devera's hat-loving, show-tune-singing younger daughter--offers her sardonic take on events as well. Life rolls along in pithy fashion (Landvik was a stand-up comic) until more serious events encroach on the fun: Francesca, the oversize hockey playing daughter of BiDi, is beaten by hooligans one summer night and left for dead by the side of the road. Miraculously, she makes her own way to the hospital, where BiDi (who's disconcerted at no longer being the center of attention) and Sergio (who deeply loves his stepdaughter) soothe her and envision their revenge. The punches, and punchlines, keep coming: Dick finds out from the professor about Devera's quickie affair, and BiDi and Sergio's long-hoped-for son is born two months premature with a hole in his heart--helping make the end, which is happy, seem somewhat arbitrary. Still, in all, the perfect light and entertaining summer novel.

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: 0449002985

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Fawcett/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997