p.s.: A Novel

Helen Schulman, Author . Bloomsbury USA $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-1-58234-157-6

Schulman (The Revisionist) concocts a wacky, high-spirited romp of a romance, pairing up her heroine with a lover who has returned from the dead—or has he? Divorced, 30-something Louise Harrington, acting admissions coordinator for Columbia University's graduate fine arts program, is paging through applications when a familiar name catches her eye and sets her mind reeling. "Feinstadt, Scott"—could it possibly be the rebellious, artistically talented high school boy she was crazy about, who died in a car accident 20 years earlier on his way to his first year at college? The potential grad student's name is actually F. Scott Feinstadt, but the similarities—same birth date (though different year), same background and so forth—abound, as Louise discovers when she meets F. Scott for a trumped-up, in-person interview. After a slow start, Schulman picks up the pace with witty observations about Louise and her ex-husband Peter's dysfunctional co-dependence, Louise's stormy friendship with scheming high school classmate Missy and her ongoing frustration with her mother. Schulman has created a winning character in Louise, whose favorite pastime since her divorce is "to list reasons for not killing herself"—one of which is that her obnoxious brother "would get all the inheritance." The author has a marvelous knack for capturing contemporary relationships, replete with complicated subtexts, family baggage and societal pressures that make the prospect of finding a healthy love relationship nearly impossible. A certain glossiness—a surfeit of brand names and a fixation on questions of lifestyle—keeps the novel from going too deep, but Schulman's delightful, piquant tale gives a clever, unusual account of how its protagonist learns to let go of the past. Author tour. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-58234-208-5
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-58234-552-9
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