cover image A Marriage Made at Woodstock

A Marriage Made at Woodstock

Cathie Pelletier. Crown Publishing Group (NY), $22 (276pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59796-5

In a novel that will surely bring her new fans, Pelletier ( The Bubble Reputation ) takes scathing aim at the vanities of older baby boomers, reading a generation's identity into imported coffee beans and therapy seminars. Frederick Stone and Chandra Kimball met at Woodstock, married soon after and consider that famous concert the seminal influence on their lives. All around them they see evidence that the graying members of their generation have sold out, but surely this can't have happened to them. True, Frederick's an accountant, but he specializes in helping small businesses and, besides, he's a vegetarian. Chandra, meanwhile, is an animal-rights activist and sometime therapist. Suddenly, Chandra moves out, claiming that Frederick no longer pays attention to her or anything she does. Distraught, Frederick calls forth his memories of Woodstock, hoping that these reflections of his marriage's beginning can help him discover what went wrong. Pelletier turns a keen satirical eye on the former hippies and other countercultural residents of Portland, Maine, and her portrait of Frederick's divorced brother, a Robert Bly-quoting veterinarian who dates women half his age, is especially sharp and funny. She is less successful at capturing the dynamics of a marriage on the rocks; for all of Frederick's musings on Chandra, the texture of their shared existence--and of its dissolution--never quite comes clear. But Pelletier keeps a straight face while chronicling the antics of grown children in this enjoyable social comedy of the '90s whose extend 30 years deep. (July)