MODERN WOMEN by Ruth Harris


Email this review


Most people seem to remember exactly what they were doing when President Kennedy was shot; cannily, Harris keys into that fact, serving up three women whose complicated, interconnected, but stalled lives get a little push by the tragic announcement. This is Harris' seventh novel, a slick, sexy button-pusher--especially for women readers who came of age between 1960 and 1980. The leading trio here consists of pure prototypes: there are Jane Gresch, with ""sex on the brain for as long as she could remember,"" an extrovert and would-be writer who escapes hometown St. Louis for the big bad world of the Village (c. 1960); Linky Desmond, n‚e Lincoln Ten Eyck, educated at Wellesley, a do-the-right-thing girl who can't quite figure out why her lawyer-husband is so hostile to her thriving career as an editor; and Elly McGrath, daughter of liberal New York parents, with a knack for choosing men who make her suffer, later a crackerjack book-publicist. These three share the same men, in particular a roguish journalist named Owen Casals--who treats women like refuse and then gets his comeuppance when Jane makes him the subject of a best-selling book about selfish men (called The F-Factor) and Elly (as his wife) draws the line on his affairs. And they all wind up in publishing, coping with careers, men, success, enduring and prevailing into the brave new world of the 80's. Jammed full of era trivia (like the date of Julia Child's TV debut), this one manages by inundation to set its scene, though in the end the theme is age. old--girl meets boy, etc. It's also sharp and racy enough to please the crowds.

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's