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Frederick Stone, Woodstock hippie turned oblivious accountant, may have sold his marriage up the river when he sold out to yuppie greed in this exuberant latest from Pelletier (The Bubble Reputation, 1993, etc.). Competitive and narrowly focused Frederick smugly cruises down the information superhighway to success in his Portland, Me., consulting firm with the latest software packages fueling his top-of-the-line computer. Technology and fiscal ambition have eluded his wife, Chandra (nÉe Lorraine) Kimball-Stone: She still pickets, boycotts, sits in, and leads New-Agey ""Seminars of the Mind."" But Frederick loves her and thinks nothing of the widening chasm between them until one day she decides to throw in the nuptial towel -- he's not the sensitive pot-smoking English major she married. Flabbergasted and irked, Frederick stumbles from his straight-and-narrow path. He stalks her, smokes cigarettes in seedy bars with his immature older brother, and loses business to pitchers of martinis and addictive talk shows. Though Chandra doesn't appreciate her husband's vanity (he charts his hair loss on the computer), condescension (he selects the best produce for other Tuesday regulars at the local superdupermarket), and overreactions (mistaking his nephew for Chandra's new lover, he attacks the boy under the vigilance of a neighbor's crimewatch camcorder), readers will be enamored of his dotty idiosyncracies by page one. And though his erstwhile friends, the Fates (affectionately known as ""the Girls"" in happier times), have forsaken him, we know he'll survive with the guidance of mental voice-overs from a high school biology teacher, philosophical and poetic ruminations, and his own indefatigable pluck. Frederick eventually sells the house, finds a surprising new business when his folds, and ebbs and flows in and out of Chandra's orbit until his Portland universe is sensibly reconfigured. Hippie/Yuppie angst rendered hilarious and human by the effervescent wit of rising star Pelletier.

Pub Date: July 13th, 1994
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown