Kitty Collins

Philip Gould, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $15.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-912697-31-4
The heroine of this first novel is a teenager when the narrative begins and a senior citizen when it ends in an epilogue bringing the characters up to the 1980s. But a reader would be hard-pressed to find much character development in Kitty, or in any of the figures who surround herMadge, the mother who deserts her; Roberta, the warm-hearted black singer who faces down racial prejudice and offers Kitty the first ""real'' home she has known; Sister Edmund, the open-minded nun who provides a musical education; the Barrys, the wealthy family that adopts Kitty (at the age of 16); or the two men Kitty marries. The novel aspires to evoke the jazz life of New York in the 1940s, but Gould settles for listing the performers on 52nd Street. His bland, biographical assessment of his heroine is that she ``became again . . . an exponent of America's two original and closely linked musical formsjazz and the popular songs of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley.'' Song titles dot the pages of this novel, but their nostalgic and romantic associations are no substitute for the sense of time and place the reader needs in order to believe that Kitty is a living character. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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