To My Dearest Friends

Patricia Volk, Author . Knopf $23 (187p) ISBN 978-0-307-26360-5

Fans of Volk's critically acclaimed memoir, Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family , will be pleased to find her effortlessly amusing and wise voice behind her accomplished second novel. Alice Vogel, a 62-year-old married Upper West Sider (and proprietress of an Upper East Side boutique), meets, for the first time, Nanny Wunderlich, a 59-year-old widowed therapist-turned-real estate agent, when the two are made co-executrixes of their dead friend Roberta's safe deposit box. In it, they discover a letter from an unnamed lover (Roberta was married) and team up to discover just with whom it was that their dear friend had been clandestinely sleeping. Alice and Nanny's sleuthing is perfunctory, and their voices, in alternating first-person chapters (and some in third person), aren't distinct. But the two are still fully realized New Yorkers, and—beyond frequenting Zabar's and the Metropolitan Opera, and using words like "gazillion"—they have real, stinging insights into later life in the big city: "Charles laughs. If smell had form and color, I would be enveloped in puce haze the size of a hassock," says Alice of the husband she loves. It's Volk's easy depth that makes this book, perhaps the first piece of empty nest chick lit, a winner. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Open Ebook - 164 pages - 978-0-307-26742-9
Paperback - 187 pages - 978-0-307-27574-5
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