cover image Higher Education

Higher Education

Lisa Pliscou, Author Penguin Books $7.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-14-011344-0

Miranda Walker is a bright, mixed-up undergraduate who pulls straight A s and makes Phi Beta Kappa while apparently lounging and wisecracking her way through Harvard. Most of her energy is spent in pondering her inter-locking relationships with friends and lovers on campus and in engaging in repartee with everyone. The author exactly captures the malaise, the suppressed anxiety about the future and the contrary enjoyment of life that characterize the contemporary collegian. But the problem with this smoothly written first novel is that almost nothing happens. The workings of Miranda's psyche fail to offer enough emotional or intellectual substance to compensate for a meager plot. Except for a few clues that arrive late in the story and seem tacked on, Miranda's alienation is unexplained, and the reader may find it difficult to shake a sense of ennui even when Miranda's ultra-hip facade falters as, approaching graduation, she takes a characteristically oblique look at what awaits her after higher education. (Mar.)