AFTER THE REUNION by Rona Jaffe

AFTER THE REUNION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jaffe here picks up the colorful, if frayed, threads of her Radcliffe alums' lives five years after their 20th class reunion (chronicled in her 1979 novel by that name). And in Tolstoyan cadences she lets us know where we are from the outset: ""People who still believe in good surprises are always young; the ones who have come to believe surprises can only be bad. . .are old. . .life is, after all, a grab bag."" The message to the reader: life may surprise you, with aging and with event, but not while you're in my charge. So how have they fared, these sorority girls of the 50s, and how goes their 47th year? A Radcliffe survey--""What were your hopes, dreams and expectations. . .did you achieve them?""--provides the pretext for the stories of four women. Emily Applebaum Buchman, advised to marry a doctor in lieu of becoming one, did so. Ken, however, has a drag habit to match his Beverly Hills practice. Emily weathers the divorce, gets a face-lift and becomes a cookie entrepreneur and talk-show guest. For Christine Spark English, husband Alexander became a sort of punishing religion. Alexander returned her devotion--the young men he also needed were secondary to their marriage. But now Alexander is in love. Chris responds with binge eating, but is saved by a diet doc and an affair with the married publisher of the New York-style magazine she writes for. Best friend Annabel Jones has always been amazed by Chris' loyalty to Alexander. A liberated woman before it was fashionable, Annabel is content with her boutique and her affairs. But while her classmates are freeing themselves from their men, Annabel frees herself from her solitude and falls in love with film director Zack Shepard. As the genre demands, golden girl Daphne Leeds Caldwell, who snagged Harvard's golden boy, has been the most buffeted. But even an institutionalized daughter, a suicidal son and an unfaithful stick of a husband can't stand between the will to happiness and the thing itself: Daphne, too, finds love--with Chris' doctor. The second generation appears here as well, prime for a book all their own: Daphne's son the writer; Emily's daughter the movie star; Annabel's, the director. Particularly given Jaffe's way with the latest in careers, crises and catchwords (cookie baker, teen suicide and bicoastal are well represented in After the Reunion), that should be good news for her very many fans. Lots of flossy, glossy appeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1985
Publisher: Delacorte