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 A pair of old high-school chums--one yuppie-rich, the other a slightly schizo slacker living at home with Mom--change places in this witty, unexpectedly moving take on our (shallow, consumerist, frantic) times. Second-novelist Kaplan (Pearl's Progress, 1989), also author of The Airport (1994 nonfiction), begins with two guys from Verona, New Jersey, facing their 25th high-school reunion. Will Weiss is the one with the new car, the second wife (Gail), the two kids, and little to look forward to except for some sexual fantasies and the distant goal of cashing in on a million bucks if and when his father finally sells the family business. Joel Gold is the one who works at a Sub Shop and, when not transfixed by the slippery colors of things (``there are at least four thousand greens''), likes to drive his ancient Impala to the house of his long-ago girlfriend and brood. (He also hears voices and guzzles Wild Turkey; he's never really recovered, it seems, from a posthigh-school breakdown.) As the Dow hits 10,000 and the millennium approaches, the promise of lucre deludes Will with visions of new toys (and sex with a mobster's wife) and lures Gail into adultery with a realtor (whose seduction line involves a walk-in closet). Meantime, Joel quietly, eccentrically, connects the dots on the scandal that broke his head and heart so many years before: the rape and subsequent meltdown of his former flame by Will's current tennis partner. When the stock market crashes, Joel, in short order, finds himself running the Sub Shop (now a coffee bar) as the father of a long-lost daughter--while Will is sleeping on his sofa, bereft of family, job, and sanity. Nervy, packed with stinging riffs on consumer rituals and passions: fiction that dares to hold a mirror up to our laughable, worrisome souls.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-87113-704-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997


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