A SMALL SACRIFICE by Ellen Hart

A SMALL SACRIFICE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty years after their graduation from the University of Minnesota, the half-dozen members of the Shevlin Underground, a theater troupe notorious for their intimacy on and offstage at school, are invited by imperious Diana Stanwood, the most famous Shevlin alumna, to a reunion at her playhouse in Wisconsin. Diana is too busy snapping at all her old friends -- and acting out her rage against fellow Shevlin Theo Donati for outing her recently -- to notice that the other Shevlins plan to take advantage of the meeting for a show of tough-love solidarity that will force her into life-saving treatment for her alcoholism. Before her friends can gang up on Diana, however, Theo collapses and dies. His surviving friends -- rival actor Orson Albern, drama prof Annie Whittig, her underemployed husband Curt Whittig, and Cordelia Thorn, artistic director of her own repertory theater -- realize how little they know about him. Ever since he was arrested for impersonating an IRS officer in college and went to jail rather than offer a defense, a curtain's fallen over Theo's life; nobody even knows where he's been living or what he's been doing for a living. Luckily, Cordelia's pal Jane Lawless (A Killing Cure, 1993, etc.) is soon on hand to sort out sexual preferences (much in evidence, though of dubious relevance to the plot) and propound an ingenious, unbelievable solution. Macbeth played out by understudies for The Big Chill. But if you can look past the flatulent platitudes about life and love, the mystery's not half bad.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1994
Page count: 301pp
Publisher: Seal