Easy Money

Barbara Wright, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $18.95 (390p) ISBN 978-0-945575-63-4
Jay's memories of her mother are vague and fleeting. Growing up with her widower father in Denver, the heroine of Wright's first novel has had to take on the role of homemaker in their dilapidated Victorian duplex. When her father, an ex-playwright with his head in the clouds, loses their fortune on options trading, Jay, 18, realizes that she must look out for herself and so moves to New York to make her mark. There, two very different men begin to shape her life. One, a beautiful, self-destructive jazz musician who becomes her lover, sees Jay as a steadfast innocent. The other, a blind Korean academic who lives by measurements and rules and hires Jay to assist him in transcribing his third novel, gradually becomes a springboard for her intellectual awakening. Through Wright's understated and softly poetic prose, Jay's resolute character, with all its ragged edges, comes easily to life. Equally impressive is Wright's ability to describe simply and believably the emotional intricacies of developing relationships. Narrative shifts between Jay and her father's perspectives can be jarring, but this structural bumpiness doesn't detract from the strength of Wright's prose and insight. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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