Universal Donor CL

Craig Nova, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $23 (250p) ISBN 978-0-395-70938-2
Nova's unsteady ninth novel (after The Book of Dreams, 1994) follows the love triangle of two doctors and a scientist to its wrenching conclusion. Virginia Lee moves to L.A. to escape a past that saw her living a practical and routine life but all the while yearning for something more. Nearly 30, she meets Rick Bartlett, a kind and dependable but otherwise unappealing dermatologist, and decides to marry him out of convenience and practicality. Shortly before the nuptials, however, Rick introduces Virginia to his old friend, Terry McKechnie, an erstwhile ER physician, who joins them on a whale-watching jaunt. Sparks fly between Terry and Virginia and, immediately after the wedding, they begin an affair. Now Virginia is under Terry's care and near death from a bite from a poisonous snake, and Rick is ready to confront his friend. Nova's main theme is that being bad sometimes feels pretty good, and that passion often dictates the course of people's lives against their better judgment. The narrative rambles at times, however, and veers off track as Terry participates in an armed robbery in a wild bid to get some necessary blood for Virginia. Nova is a strong enough stylist to make readers wonder if his metaphors are deeper than they appear. They aren't, but he still does a convincing job of showing that while love may conquer all, the conquest isn't always pretty. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997
Release date: 06/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-0-393-31845-6
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