NIGHT TENNIS by Annabel Davis-Goff
Kirkus Star


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A Hollywood novel that has an authentic contemporary feel (without ramming it down your throat) as well as a genuinely likable main character. Julia Page, a 43-year-old screenwriter, wife, and mother, is in London getting her first nerve-wracking chance at directing a film when she falls for the 20-year-old stepson of the dim-brained female lead. Nick Beaumont is elegant, handsome, a gambler by profession, and irresistible to women; but he's less callow than Julia expects. Beset by the ego-attacks she suffers on the set each day, she finds Nick a surprisingly gentle help to her self-regard. When the film is in the can (later on it'll be butchered, made unrecognizable), Julia returns to Los Angeles and her agent-husband (with his own helpless but discreet adulteries) and teenage son. Nick surprises her by following. Things get grandly sticky then: too close to home is too close for comfort. Davis-Goff evokes Julia's sojourn in London--her workaday apprehensions, the scariness of the younger man-older woman relationship--with great care and an assurance rare in a first novel. Things become slightly boggy back in L.A. Julia even thinks to herself, looking around at a dinner party: ""Beverly Hills. . . might be true in life, but it was a trap, a pitfall, in fiction."" The maxim holds here: the satiric slaps at the poseurs in their Gucci loafers lack the anxious tang of Julia's London risks. But Davis-Goff, readably and relaxedly and honestly, gives us enough pure Julia to make the book a quiet satisfaction, full of the unspectacular complexity of real emotions.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan