Pause Between Acts

Mavis Cheek, Author Simon & Schuster $17.45 (210p) ISBN 978-0-671-66730-6
So breezy and accomplished is this debut that it's easy to overlook the slight plot and the hard-to-swallow goings-on narrated by Londoner Joan. Abandoned by her husband, Joan becomes a recluse, shunning her kind neighbors, refusing to take part in the activities of the school where she works and spurning the advances of Robin, a particularly toothsome gym teacher. Nothing avails until an actor named Finbar Flynn escapes from a New Year's Eve party next door and descends upon her. Joan, swilling vodka, decked in her wedding gown, chrysanthemums sprouting from her hair, takes one look and loses her heart. Finbar responds, but not carnally, and although he sends flowers with a note praising her charming eccentricity, he slips mysteriously away. But they meet by chance when she goes to the theater with Robin, an encounter that twists the plot and sets it on a rollicking, unexpected path to denouement. Although the effort to be funny is sometimes apparent, there's a lot of hilarity in a book that makes no pretense of building character or uttering solemnities but proposes, simply, to amuse. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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