A second-generation movie star roams the world in search of something.
Ever since her mother, the lovely and talented Vivien Grant, drowned in the family’s swimming pool when Cara Walden was a child, she’s been raised largely by her gay half brother, Gray, with the help of a Hindu family retainer named Geoffrey. But when the House Committee on Un-American Activities zeroes in on Gray because of his youthful support of anti-Fascist forces in Spain, the trio packs up and moves to London. There, Geoffrey swoons over the coronation of the young Queen Elizabeth while Gray canoodles with bearded Bolsheviks at the New Left Book Club and Cara sings with a Jamaican band at a pub called the Crown and Two Chairmen. When bandleader Dory is killed in a brawl with some Teddy boys, Gray broods and Cara takes a course in stage acting. Soon she’s in Taormina, starring in Stolen Love, and sleeping with her co-star, Adrian. But director Gianluca Mirano pushes the actors too far, and their passionate affair sours. Cara runs off with Luca’s mistress, who develops a sudden urge to pray at the shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, but the woman abandons her in Trani, where Cara spends the night with a band of gypsies. An especially handsome gypsy violinist captures her heart, but Cara leaves, only to be united with him years later in Cannes at a screening of Night and Fog, where she discovers that he’s actually a Polish Jew named Jakub Abramowicz. After a brief tutorial on the Holocaust, Lieberman ends Cara’s adventures where they began: in Southern California.
Cara’s debut reads as if it had been written by a committee. Here’s hoping Lieberman can keep her eye on the prize in any sequel.