When We Get Home

Maud Carol Markson, Author Bantam Books $7.95 (201p) ISBN 978-0-553-34660-2
This debut novel about a young woman whose much-divorced parents have left her with no talent for commitment (but with a wistful desire for it, nonetheless) is written in such a fashionably passionless style that it's often hard to care what comes next. Annie drifts first into marriage and then into a series of affairs; her husband has a nervous breakdown and her brother sleeps with their father's beautiful young wife. Meanwhile, the reader wonders why any of this had to happen--or had to be presented so dispiritedly. By the end, Annie has learned a few old-fashioned lessons about the endurance of love and the need to connect, but even this development seems fairly arbitrary here--the very act of determining what matters doesn't seem to matter much, given Markson's tepid prose and her refusal to utilize a genuine gift for humor to animate and enrich these characters. As it is, their deliberate quirkiness doesn't compensate for their lack of depth; the elliptical, hip exchanges between them, apparently meant to suggest intimacy, are a poor substitute. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
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