FUGITIVE BLUE by Dani Shapiro


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Fictional take #2 for Shapiro, author of the roundly esteemed debut novel Playing with Fire (1990), points out what the artsy members of Yale's class of about 1980 did after graduation, while their squarer fellows were trading bonds on Wall Street. Of course, Shapiro's principal players, Josie Hirsch and Billy Overmeyer, aren't your average college kids. They grew up together in a New Jersy suburb, where Josie (the narrator) had a knack for being where she wasn't supposed to be--cutting classes to spend the day in New York City, cuddling with Billy in the woods, or secretly watching her divorced dad make love to a neighbor, plump and lovely Mrs. Overmeyer. Here, Josie's past is interspersed with the present, as she acts in an Off-Off Broadway hit and laments the desertion of her live-in beau. But Josie's real problems are twofold: Her mother, an internationally acclaimed artist named Georgia, treats Josie like a daughter only on rare occasions, and, to make matters worse, Josie and Billy love each another (and always have), though they can't come out of the closet with it because Billy became her stepbrother when Mr. Hirsch married Mrs. Overmeyer. Then one night near Central Park, while Georgia and Josie helplessly look on, Billy gets beat up by a mugger, leaving him a vegetable. To vanquish the ghosts that haunt her, Josie will have to make a rapprochement with her self-centered mother, kick a drinking habit, and reveal her own ""private Holocaust""--her hopeless love for Billy. Shapiro is reaching for Euripides here--if in her own hip, downtownish way--and, despite certain overobvious plot manipulations, does manage to grasp onto the tragedlan's sleeve. She also digs into some good and gritty mother-daughter dirt. So for seekers after darkness, why not?

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1993
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday