Avery Corman, . . St. Martin's, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-32983-9

In 1977, Corman's Kramer vs. Kramer gave a voice to the bitterness of divorce; 27 years later, the author offers this reassessment of the matter. Manhattanites Karen and Rob Burrows divorced four years ago, working out joint custody of their adolescent son, Tommy, in "the most humane settlement" their lawyer had ever seen. As they reapply themselves to the careers that pulled them apart, they can't imagine that such a "perfect" divorce might have adversely affected Tommy—and yet his school work suffers. Tommy manages to get into college, but then, after one semester, he announces he's "done with" it. His troubles take a toll on Karen and Rob and their new relationships, but after Tommy strikes out on his own, he gets in touch with his creative side, and a bit of luck turns everything around for a happy ending. Corman illustrates upper-class Manhattan life with easy familiarity and chronicles Tommy's college application process with knowing humor. Although some analysis of the divorce is overly spelled out ("Karen and Rob attempted to rewrite a failed marriage with a successful divorce so their son could move gracefully and unharmed into his future"), Corman writes with a warm and wise empathy that could strike a chord with many. (Sept.)