One big theme is not enough for British writer Gee (Grace, 1989, etc.), who throws in concerns about the environment,...



One big theme is not enough for British writer Gee (Grace, 1989, etc.), who throws in concerns about the environment, millennial angst and cybernetic sex as the Christopher and Alexandra of the title learn, along with us, that life's no fairy tale. The weather's hot even in England, the world's getting crowded, and the mood is imminent fin de siècle as beautiful Alexandra and handsome husband Christopher decide they are ""going on a holiday and never coming back."" They have the money, made by both from TV and writing, and intend to spend the rest of their lives traveling and making love. The two flee as intended, but leave behind Christopher's two adolescent children--lumpish Susy and awkward Isaac--who have never really taken to stepmother Alex, who in turn has treated them with barely suppressed irritation. The inevitable futility of the couple's escape is detailed by Christopher, Alexandra, Susy, and family friend Mary--all from the vantage point of the future where they can total the cost of the pair's indulgence. Isaac dies of AIDS; Susy, who loves children, has three abortions; Alexandra is unfaithful; and Christopher is sent to jail for manslaughter after he confronts Alexandra and her much younger lover. There is a happy ending of sorts in 2007, as the dying and much wiser Alexandra returns to London--and to Christopher. And the lesson they have painfully learned has suddenly a wider meaning. Their heedless self-indulgence is apparently a metaphor for us all: like us, they ""used the world until it grew tired."" Gee can tell a story, but her ideas and characters are ill-matched. Chris and Alex are just too frivolous, too one-dimensional, to add anything more than a tiny footnote to the great debate between freedom and responsibility, either globally or domestically. An easy but flawed read.

Pub Date: March 1, 1992


Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991