The Private Life of Axie Re

John Knowles, Author Dutton Books $15.95 (214p) ISBN 978-0-525-24403-5
This is a thin, disappointing story by the author of A Separate Peace, which has remained in print for over 25 years. Knowles's heroine, Alexandra (Axie) Reed, a stage and screen star, makes headlines at age 50 after a fall leaves her gravely injured. Axie's young cousin and purported biographer, Nick Reed, is the narrator, staying at her Long Island home with others who adore the actress and await word from the hospital on her condition. Nick muses over Axie's relationships with those present: her ex-husband, Lambros Talouris, arriving from the Greek island where the marriage began and ended; his brother Spyro, Axie's lifelong friend; her manager and former lover Douglas Shore. While they discuss plans for caring for Axie during her convalescence, she is deciding whether she will fight to live or, for reasons left unclear, ensure her own death. Presented as impossibly perfect, Axie is not convincing; nor are the other characters. Only Knowles's ambient descriptions of the Greek island and of Axie's sanctuary in the Hamptons pique one's interest. (April 23)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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