cover image Never Say Good-Bye

Never Say Good-Bye

Gloria Vanderbilt / Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (195p) ISBN

Vanderbilt follows her memoirs ( Once Upon a Time and Black Knight, White Knight ) with this confusing fictional debut that sketches four contemporary women in a sophisticated New York City-scape. Best defined is Jess, manager of an art gallery, who is engaged in an anguished sporadic love affair with Mac, a married TV reporter. Mac's canny wife, Billie Mae, once a dirt-poor country girl, refuses to give up her husband or his contacts, which advance her career as an artists' agent. Jane, an English comic actress, shares her sadistic lover Grafton with an American artist named Garnet, whose most distinguishing feature is a striking resemblance to Jess's long-missing mother, Dolores. The blurred voices and constant chopping and switching among subplots lead to a numbingly cryptic effect. The women desultorily revolve around one another until a few blows of stunning cruelty are dealt and those who are missing return. 35,000 first printing. (Oct.)