Parting is All We Know of Heaven

Molly Moynahan, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-06-016175-0
Moynahan marks her novelistic debut with a competently crafted ``woman's novel'' of an undemanding if lurid and fairly muddled sort. Beautiful 29-year-old aspiring actress Cordelia Cavanagh works in a health club and lives on New York's West Side. The brutal murder by stabbing of her much-idealized older sister Cynthia, who acted as a surrogate mother during their parents' divorce, drives Cordelia to flamboyantly narcissistic despair. The heroine's prolonged and extreme sufferings--they include self-isolation, anorexia, attempted suicide, cocaine and dangerously rough sex with a sadistic, sinisterly rich older man--lack sufficient motivation to be entirely credible, but Moynahan otherwise draws a convincing portrait of the Cavanagh family's dynamics and an assortment of minor characters. Ultimately, though, despite some promising strengths, the novel fails to rise above the juvenile self-absorption of its heroine. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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