BUNGALOW NINE by Norman Ober


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This novel deals with another aspect of that seemingly bottomless genre of fiction in which the attitudes are inescapably middle-class and suburban and the protagonists are inevitably paragons of perfection facing crisis with which the readers of the ladies' magazines can identify. The Jason Cutlers are such a couple: good looking, well adjusted, financially and emotionally secure, with just a dash of jazz -- he's a publicist for a movie company (though a slightly incredible one). Their problem: looking for a summer place with a day camp for their problem daughter (jealous of her younger sister) they've stumbled into Hector's Pond Colony in Spring Valley, N.Y. -- a family version of the borscht circuit. The Cutlers, themselves of such a highly distilled Jewishness as to be almost characterless, are revolted by Hector's -- the Grand Concourse speech and mannerisms, the mahjong, the cha-cha, the harlequin eyeglasses, etc., etc., and Jason's own brand of anti-semitism emerges sinously. But they stick it out for their daughter's sake and eventually prove their acceptability -- even at Hector's. Mrs. Cutler provides the moral of the story: she turns thumbs down on Hector's for the right reasons -- because their values are not the same as their summer neighbors. The author ties it up very neatly, he knows the right answers. But one suspects a certain indirect maliciousness in his exploitation of Jason's viewpoint.

Publisher: Walker