FASHIONABLY LATE by Olivia Goldsmith


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 Goldsmith established her fertile turf in The First Wives Club (1991) and hasn't let up since; here she presents another witty, venomous tale of female resourcefulness in the face of breathtaking male duplicity, set in Manhattan's sophisticated fashion industry. Self-absorbed, overworked, and fabulously successful, Karen Kahn is the spitting image of the harried New York executive in those 1980s Donna Karan clothing ads. The comparison is apt, because tall, somewhat hefty, 42-year-old Karen is the creative genius behind KKInc., a fashion design company poised for expansion into both high-end international couture and domestic mass market. To meet those goals Karen's handsome husband and business manager, Jeffrey, is soliciting a financing deal with multimillionaire Bill Wolper, whose discount clothes may be shoddy but who knows how to make a buck. But Karen can't concentrate on business now: She's just learned that she's unable to bear children, and, an adoptee herself, she soon becomes obsessed with finding her anonymous birth mother and adopting a child. Eventually she agrees to a ``real deal'' with her husband: She'll sign her company over to Wolper in exchange for the reluctant Jeffrey's cooperation as an adoptive dad. But the plan falls through when Karen learns that Wolper is cruelly exploiting the garment workers in his offshore factories, Jeffrey is carrying on two simultaneous extramarital affairs, and KKInc. is on the verge of a financial breakdown. ``There's nothing tougher than the garment industry...It's controlled by men and it feeds into a sickness in women,'' Goldsmith writes as Karen struggles to save her company, maintain her integrity, and cadge a baby. Hardly the usual stuff of commercial women's fiction, but Goldsmith's cheerful kick to the shins of the men who mess up the world and the women who let them can be profoundly satisfying. This novel works. (First printing of 150,000; $175,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-06-017611-3
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1994


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