WHITE WATER by Joyce Reiser Kornblatt


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Her granddaughter about to be married in Miami, Rose Fry leaves her apartment in Washington, D.C., to be In attendance. Not even invited to the wedding is her ex-radical son Justin, the brother--and sworn enemy--of older son Karl, who is father of the bride. Kornblatt (Nothing To Do With Love, 1981) allots this rather meditative, retrospective domestic moment of crisis into chapters told by Rose (memories of her closed-off F.B.I.-man husband, her father's suicide, her so-different sons); by Justin; by Diana, the rebellious bride-to-be (still nursing a lust for a low-life bartender despite the engagement); by Karl, and by Diana's mother Florence (now divorced from Karl). To her credit, Kornblatt pulls back the surfaces of these seedy-ish lives to search for the moment or point at which their energies, or hopes, were relinquished--which gives a number of pages a strong emotional resonance. But much clumsier are the fitful turnings of plot meant to give the narrations a common line: Justin travelling to South America on a human-rights mission connected with contacts of Diana's newspaperman fiance; Diana taken hostage and shot by the bartender-boyfriend right before the wedding. These are lumpy elements, doctored-up and without real credibility. The more sedulous, quieter parts of the book are better--suggesting that Kornblatt may yet lengthen and deepen her sympathies into a more inclusive novel one of these days.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1985
Publisher: Dutton