IMAGES by Cara Saylor Polk


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Polk (Her Mother's Daughter, a roman à clef about Jackie O. and Caroline) has turned her pen to TV news anchorwomen, and come up with Marlena Williams: beautiful, blonde, and 41 at the novel's open and close. The balance of the book flashes back over Marlena's progression of jobs and men that, combined, have taken her straight to the top of TV-dom. The artifice used is the return of an old lover, Roger. Over dinner, Roger asks pertinent questions that help Marlena reveal her ""story."" Roger and Marlena had planned to marry, but Marlena aborted his child and went for a promising TV job instead. From there it was marriage to an older newsman, an affair, divorce, an affair with a married senator, and meanwhile, increasingly important TV spots in major cities, culminating in the network anchor post. Now, 20 years later, Roger tries to woo Marlena back, spinning odd tales of tragedies in his past which ultimately prove. . .questionable. Marlena is nearly taken in, and only at the propitious last minute realizes her mistake and turns instead to her most promising ex-lover, Will. The pair will retire to her boudoir but, Marlena jokes, first they must walk the dog. A comment on the dearth of romance past-40, no doubt. The style here hovers between pseudo-literary and potboiler, though the author does neither well. Vaguely tedious, the novel plods its way through the details of daily life and the mechanics of power politics in the media big league. B-minus on entertainment; passable but basically unsatisfying.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's