cover image THE LOST GIRLS


Laurie Fox, Author . Simon & Schuster $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-74

What do you do when your mother raises you to believe that fairy tales are real? And why do women fall in love with men who refuse to grow up? Fox's second novel (after the well-received My Sister from the Black Lagoon ), asks both questions as she traces the intimate relationship of five generations of women with Peter Pan, the protagonist of J.M. Barrie's classic tale. The women are the descendants of the original Wendy Darling, and they must balance their magical experiences with modern-day reality. The narrator, Wendy Darling Braverman, is the great-granddaughter of the original Wendy, who tells her that she—like her mother and grandmother before her—will one night be awakened by a boy with whom she will fall madly in love. Peter Pan does appear to Wendy one evening when she's 13, and brings her to Neverland to take care of him and the Lost Boys. Wendy grows to adore the charming, elusive Peter, who flirts and tantalizes, but never gives Wendy the love she craves. Back in the real world, Wendy grows up filled with longing and angst, channeling her imagination into the writing of children's stories. Her husband, Freeman, a musician with a passion for cartoon sounds and avoiding employment, is yet another man-child with no desire to grow up. When Wendy and Freeman's own rebellious teenage daughter becomes dangerously entangled in the Peter Pan mythology, Wendy is forced to re-examine her deepest secrets and the meaning of the Darling legacy. Fox's inventive conceit is overdeveloped and her coy stylings grow tiresome, but her clever interrogation of a self-destructive romantic tendency makes this an interesting experiment. Agent, Linda Chester. (Jan.)