SPLINTERS by Erica Heller


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Heller's first novel is a long, quasi-clever whine about men, particularly the charmingly profligate ex-husband type. As the narrator's mother tells her daughter, never assume ""human characteristics"" in men--they don't have them. The man in question here is Charlie Stamberg, a playwright ""whose work has inspired symposiums in the courtyards of the Louvre, a ballet for the Bolshoi. . ."" His ex-wife, Stevie, a would-be dramatist herself who doubles nine to five as an ad exec, has managed to free herself somewhat from her emotional bondage to him since the divorce three years ago. But one morning while she's pruning petunias at her Easthampton summer house, Charlie jogs by and commences re-romancing her, even though he's married again to a bimbo named Patsy. Stevie tries to resist as he fills her fridge with caviar, presents her with a new typewriter, and claims that the play she's polishing up is a masterpiece. So hot and beguiling is his pursuit, in fact, that she removes herself to the city to put herself away from temptation. But when Charlie dumps his current wife and wins the Nobel Prize, Stevie gives in--until she learns that he's nixed her chances of having her play produced and is still carrying on with other women. Why Stevie's so susceptible to Charlie remains a mystery, since he's about as irresistible as a weasel. But the big problem here is the incessantly sassy, imitation Ephron tone, which wears quickly thin to reveal a relationship based on suspicion (she) and compulsive philandering (he)--a veritable Punch and Judy show that will strike many readers as outmoded and overstated.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1990
Publisher: Morrow