THE LONG WAY HOME by Alan & Janice Rotchstein Ebert


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From the authors of Traditions (1981): a romance-and-angst family gumbo, 1973-1981, in which everyone is Somebody with celeb status. Among the glittering personae: Marti Tiernan, thrice-divorced activist and Fonda-style actress, a mother of two who suffers a paranoid depression after the assassination of her writer/politician father; Marti's mother Carolyn and her Aunt Margaret, the famous Tiernan sisters of the stage and cinema; Marti's brother Captain Thomas Ollson, a prominent Vietnam-era hawk, haunted by his terrible months as a POW; her brother J J, a prominent dove, who has fled service by emigrating to Canada to help other AWOLs and work on a documentary. And all these kinfolk have domestic miseries, of course. Thomas' wife Reese, cracked under the strain of Thomas' absence and then his emotional remoteness, takes to drink. Marti, obsessed with the safety of her two children, is certain a stranger is out to kill her. JJ desperately fights for amnesty, rescues a young family-rejected AWOL, yearns to return home, and marries talented Jessamyn. . . who bears son David before she boots marriage and JJ's cause for career mobility. But eventually everything gets more or less worked out. Marti finds a new life and a new man, psychiatrist Matthew Strohl, while working with seriously ill children in a Manhattan hospital; she'll end up starring in a sit-com. Thomas, after a rat-race run as president of Revere Airlines, and a heart attack, is lured by Matthew into counseling work at the DAV (Disabled American War Veterans)--while Reese kicks the booze and prepares for a teaching career. JJ, after custody battles over son David, finally returns to the US and piles up cinematic successes. Thomas' three kids survive a mixture of griminess and glamour. So, with a kidnapping, a hunt, a death, and two pilgrimages to Vietvet memorials, there's enough family lather here--if nothing that bubbles--for a year of TV soap: a sort of roman à teflon, utterly artificial but reasonably sturdy.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1984
Publisher: Crown