After a sluggish start, this topical saga of a woman's midlife crisis begins to hum, and Konecky (Allegra Maud Goldman, 1976) resolves things with an unexpected and unabashed high note, a life-affirming message. Narrator Rachel Levin is a writer who can't seem to write. Divorced and the mother of two adult sons, she has turned to women for love; but her latest involvement, with a young lawyer named Lisa, is going sour. Rachel relies on her good friends for counsel, but they have troubles of their own: Margo's husband is about to leave her, and eccentric Deirdre seems to be out of touch with reality, living somewhere on the fringe. Rachel's family gives her cause for concern as well. Son Henry is henpecked and seems to have little interest in sticking up for himself. And Rachel's mother, an 84-year-old widow, lives all alone in Florida, watching her friends die off. All of this ambient angst swirls around for much too long--until, finally, the crises fall into place. Lisa leaves. Deirdre drops out of sight. Margo's husband moves into an apartment. Things are happening at last, and, in the midst of it all, Rachel finds her voice. She's writing again. When one more--and potentially most threatening--crisis hits Rachel by surprise, it might seem to be too much, except that Konecky uses this material carefully and to good effect. These scenes turn out to be pivotal, giving new life to the novel--even as Rachel learns to look at life anew. Uneven in tenor, but, for the midlife blues, something more than the same old song.