Women of a Certain Age

Colleen Klein, Author Trafalgar Square Publishing $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7126-9479-7
Set in Australia, this evocative novel chronicles Elissa Campbell's 43rd year, a year that begins in bitterness and frustration but concludes on a note of triumph. The birthday party that opens the book introduces us to Elissa's friends, all ""women of a certain age,'' most of them shallow and self-absorbed and mirroring Elissa's own discontent and boredom. To give her life focus and meaning, Elissa resolves to plan and bring to fruition a monumental, six-acre garden, a showplace overlooking the sea, containing numerous terraces and waterfalls and brimming with Australia's own lush and exotic plant- and wildlife. The garden becomes an obsession. The detailed planning, the vast expenses and the sexual guiles Elissa employs to acquire land and money puzzle her two independent and unorthodox daughters and alienate her husband. Elissa's crisis of early middle age, her struggle for her own identity, her eventual, victorious passage to self-awareness, are deftly handled. But when Klein ( The Heart in the Casket leaves her somewhat predictable characters to describe Australia's rich, natural beauty, the book truly springs to life. (January)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1986
Release date: 11/01/1986
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