THE LAST OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS by Susan Swan

THE LAST OF THE GOLDEN GIRLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tedious sex games, metafictional conceits, and an unconvincing apocalyptic wrap-up mark the Canadian author's American debut novel. In 1959, middle-class narrator Jude Bell--often sounding and acting years younger than her stated age of 14--shares conventional coming-of-age problems with Bobby and Shelly, two rich girls from Toronto, when they all spend the summer at U-Go-I-Go Sound. Jude's ""friends"" eventually betray her by setting her up for sexual exploitation. Ten years later, back at the Sound, Bobby is married to wealthy Bull Cape and having an affair with Jewish entrepreneur Jonah Prince (NOOC--""not of our class""); Jude, a journalist, is writing a book about the Cape family company and having an affair with Bull's brother, who is living with Shelly. Partners bicker and cheat, but since no one here is sympathetic or even interesting, their jealous anguish is unlikely to touch the reader (often addressed directly by Jude as ""Old Voyeur Eyes""). In a final section, the characters, with less than ten minutes until a threatened thermonuclear attack, delay seeking shelter while they squabble over their relationships; Bull even finds the time for homicide and rape. Readers who don't recall a nuclear disaster in 1969 may interpret the clumsy apocalyptic ending as hoax, fantasy, or Jude's sick projection, while wishing that Swan had kept it, with her other imaginings, to herself. Proof that even sex and violence can be a crashing bore.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Arcade--dist. by Little, Brown