Craving for Women

Sybil Claiborne, Author Dutton Books $17.95 (245p) ISBN 978-0-525-24682-4
Claiborne's farfetched and often painfully sexist first novel may leave more than a few readers with a craving for a refund. Set, for the most part, in the SoHo section of New York, the story revolves around an unusual ``extended family'' comprised of seven trendy women who share a collective dose of neurosis and a mutual husband named Saul. How the polygamous patriarcha pompous and self-obsessed middle-aged expert on everythingmanages to captivate the adoration and cooperation of these attractive and mostly well-educated women is a fictional phenomenon that defies common logic. Nonetheless, the members of the harem are hopelessly devoted to ``poor Saul'' and willingly comply to a weekly schedule of ``conjugal visits'' until the groom disrupts the ``routine'' by suddenly not showing up. Bonded by a shared sense of rejection, anxiety, inadequacy and rage, the women eventually compare notes and discover that not only has Saul been spending every night with his sixth and wackiest wife, but he's planning a winter canoe trip with her. Besides that, she's pregnant! What follows is an explosion of seriocomic emotions mixed with melodramatic scenarios that find Saul under arrest, and the wives alternately nitpicking each other to pieces while pretending to be one hip, happy family. Although adroitly written, this fiction is a farce. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
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