cover image Divorcing Daddy

Divorcing Daddy

Susan Trott. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $18.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-754-3

Trott is the author of eight previous novels but in this, her ninth (after The Exception ), she has managed the dubious feat of creating most of the heralds of a flawed first novel by a writer of uncertain promise. The story of Rome Morrison, a 19-year-old college dropout who runs off to San Francisco in order to attempt a career as a writer, this is more a facile, manic series of wisecracks than a coherent narrative. Not that it lacks for plot--events occur at a frenetic pace, with Rome becoming involved simultaneously with two brothers (but which one is Good and which one is Bad?), numerous encounters that employ absurd coincidence, and an improbable murder of which Rome is accused. If Trott has deliberately set out to create in Rome a spoiled, self-involved rich kid with the conscience of a geranium, then she has succeeded. But readers may not be sure that their irritation is a reaction to the goings-on of this sometimes funny story so much as it might be to the lacunae in character, motivation, pacing and structure. That said, Trott can be quite wry, and clearly can do much better than this effort. (Feb.)