Promises of Freedom

David Grinstead, Author, Jim Wade, Editor Crown Publishers $19.95 (451p) ISBN 978-0-517-57659-5
Grinstead's second novel (after The Earth Mover ) traces the intertwined lives of five Yale and Vassar graduates during the 1960s. Some experience self-discovery; others rise to power and later sink into corruption. Grinstead, a Vietnam veteran, includes telling details about the inception of that conflict, and calls forth the significant political events of the turbulent '60s. But lackluster prose and cliched characterizations rob the novel of interest and immediacy. The protagonist, Phoebe Bishop, segues from a comfortable preppie existence to success as a journalist for the old Life . Vulnerable in love, she crosses paths with several men, including pompous Harvard grad Houston Bridles, whom she marries. Grinstead's depiction of well-to-do college graduates and their crises of conscience becomes tiresome, especially when one of Phoebe's moneyed friends becomes radicalized by the war. The ultimate cliche is the pivotal street slaying of a primary character as a metaphor for the disillusionment of the '60s generation. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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