Smart Hearts in the City

Barbara Probst Solomon, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $21.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-15-183157-9
Solomon, a journalist and memoirist who wrote an earlier novel about New York, The Beat of Life , has penned a partly nostalgic, partly despairing book in which the city is an important character of sorts. Katy Becker, a feisty, attractive Jewish woman in passionate middle age, is involved in a lawsuit against her brother-in-law; she believes he is cheating her out of a share of the family estate. Much of the book is made up of Katy's reminiscences: she recalls her early years living on the edge of Harlem, her youthful fling with an ambitious young black man now prospering in California, and her wonderful summers spent at the splendid family estate on Long Island Sound. These scenes, some of them strikingly original in their evocation of class relationships, are interwoven with events from the present: the dog-eat-dog worlds of contemporary New York law and finance, a rather somber romance with a tough-guy millionaire whose boat is a showy extension of himself. The mix doesn't always work, and there are too many incidental and rather unimportant characters to easily keep track of. But Katy's robust, salty personality, prone to sentiment but never overwhelmed by it, is pleasing, and the rather glib happy ending seems well deserved. A cut above the usual genre of Jewish family sagas. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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