Homecoming

Belva Plain, Author Delacorte Press $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-31980-5
When the matriarch of the Byrne clan individually summons each member of her family to her country home, the estranged invitees have no idea that they will attend a reunion of sorts. Plain's 15th novel, which reads more like an outline than one of the lavish family sagas we've come to expect from her, zips along swiftly with scant character development. Indeed, readers may wonder why Annette Byrne bothers to gather this array of stereotypes: elder son Lewis and his wife, rich WASPs with ""no sense of family""; their daughter Cynthia, who wallows in self-pity because she no longer has the perfect life, man or career; and Annette's younger son, Gene, estranged from Lewis because of a family business disaster years earlier. In addition, Gene remains embittered by the nine-year marriage of his daughter Ellen to Mark Sachs, whose parents, Aaron and Brenda, are orthodox Jews (of course, Aaron is a doctor, a surgeon, no less, who quotes the Bible at inappropriate moments). Can long-raging feuds be overcome by one family gathering? The plot is plagued by two-dimensional characters, stilted dialogue (""Come, come, for heaven's sake, you're out of breath"") and an abrupt, all-too-happy ending. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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