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by Meg Wolitzer

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-84844-9
Publisher: Scribner

A weepy account of a young woman’s accidental death and its effect on her family and friends, by the author of Friends for Life (1994), etc. Sara Swerdlow is not what you—d call a slacker, but she’s definitely taken her own sweet time in finding herself. Now in her 30s, she is a graduate student at Columbia, pursuing a doctorate in Japanese history that she fears will lead her no closer to a career than she is already. Resolutely single, Sara has attracted a steady procession of unsuitable boyfriends, the most recent being an environmental lawyer named Sloan, who is pleasant, dull, and usually out of town. Her best friend is the very successful playwright Adam Langer (—the gay Neil Simon—), a classmate from Wesleyan. For years now, Sara and Adam and two of their other Wesleyan friends’schoolteacher Peter and lawyer Maddy, a married couple—have rented a house on Long Island for a month each summer. This year they continue the tradition, but the familiar rhythm of the summer holiday is shattered when Sara is killed in a car accident during the first week of their stay. Stunned and distraught, the remaining three pass their days in a stupor of grief—until Sara’s mother Natalie arrives to collect her daughter’s personal belongings and allow them to pay their respects. Adam and the others prevail upon Natalie to stay with them for the remainder of the vacation. The four pass their time, then, reminiscing about Sara and to terms with her death. When they all return home at the end of the month, they find that their friendship has in some sense blunted the pain of their loss. Oppressively sentimental, Wolitzer’s story quickly feels as cramped as a Hamptons time-share on the Fourth of July. (Author tour)