SMART HEARTS IN THE CITY by Barbara Probst Solomon


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Katy Becker is a woman living in what used to be called ""reduced circumstances""--a child of rich Upper East Side and Connecticut summer-estate-owning Jews (who proceeded to lose almost everything in the Crash), then the wife of an earnest law professor, who suddenly died on her, leaving her a young widow with a son. Her dead husband had also been wealthy but more interested in altruism and the academic life--and when Katy is cast adrift, she finds that she has been cheated out of most of her wifely inheritance by her husband's brother and his shady but well-connected financial schemes. Despite old and new sentimental alliances--with black lover Brad Culver, with philanthropist and widower Mike Braden--it recovering her due that for Katy is her great passion, straining against the conventional female role of passivity in matters of money. Solomon (an earlier novel, The Beat of Life, 1960; Horse-Trading and Ecstasy, 1989, etc.) is a better commentator on urban life and trends of the privileged than she is a scene-maker; as narrative, only Katy's sedulous and lucky legal retrieval of what's hers has some pulse to it (thanks to the introduction of the Roy-Cohn-ish, lizardly figure of dying-of-AIDS-lawyer Adam Klager, the ultimate New Yorker who has the dirt on everyone, including himself). Much else here is stitched out of self-obsessed aperÇus and throwaway small-sector sociology, and the weave is neither tight nor enveloping.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich