A Cast of Smiles

Amanda Brookfield, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (206p) ISBN 978-0-312-05399-4
London writer Brookfield's second comedy of manners (after Alice Alone ) introduces a vexatious group of people too self-absorbed to recognize the emotional needs of their closest friends. Playboy Julian Blake weds Veronica Kembleton, but his rugby teammates-- bachelors Teddy, George and Peter-- rightly predict his dissatisfaction with marriage. Within a year, Julian is involved in an affair with a woman to whom he confesses details of a meaningless homosexual fling he'd had with Teddy. Little does Julian suspect that this relationship was all but casual to depressed, alcoholic Teddy--nor that his outwardly flawless ex-girlfriend Katherine has been spying on him and is plotting revenge. Selfish Julian, dutiful Veronica, lovesick Teddy and mentally unstable Katherine embody only one-dimensional roles in this uninventive soap opera. A third-person narrator offers redundant asides warning of the dangers implicit in even the most comfortable existences, while Julian et al., thanks to their remarkable insensitivity, manage to weather the tragedies that befall them and get back to business-as-usual. Brookfield's astringent prose often falls as flat as the characters whose lives she dissects. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-340-62449-4
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