The author of five previous novels (The Yokota Officers Club, 2001, etc.) that center around romance, friendship, career, art, motherhood and personal appearance here writes compellingly of a love triangle.
The ménage à trois consists of best friends Didi and Rae, and the hunky hypoteneuse they fall for—Tomás, a flamenco guitarist. The setting is the American southwest, and the style is an incongruous but successful blend of the flippant and ultra-gorgeous romantic. The outrageous Didi, for example, describes the bonnet-wearing adherents of a cultish religion that Rae’s mother joins as “Amish wannabes.” Elsewhere, a besotted character describes Tomás by saying, “He is air and rain and golddust and all others are mud.” Rae is a shy, studious pale blonde; Didi is flamboyant, sexy, self-absorbed, ambitious and assured. The two meet when their fathers, dying of cancer, visit the same oncologist. Their mothers cope badly with their husbands’ deaths, and the girls have only each other. Their friendship is the strongest and best-realized portion of the novel. Didi is magnetic—the cool friend who idles through her shift at the Pup y Taco while sitting on an overturned bucket, pulls the best finds from the thrift-store rack, charges into the hotel rooms of rock musicians. A telling moment comes when Rae bumps into the lonely, drab girl who was her high-school lab partner and thinks that “was the fate Didi saved me from.” In gratitude, Rae shoulders all the work of their relationship, while Didi reaps the benefits; the reader can anticipate what will happen when Rae meets the sexiest man either has ever encountered. For Tomás’s sake, both women study flamenco, the bitter, staccato gypsy art. The story concludes not with blood and tragedy but the stuff bestsellers are made of.
Funny and beautifully structured to create anticipation and suspense, with lush moments of romance and a surprisingly sturdy backbone.