cover image The After Party

The After Party

Anton DiSclafani. Riverhead, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59463-316-4

DiSclafani’s second novel, following The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is an intriguing story about the complexities of female friendship and the intricate social hierarchy of Houston’s oil elite in the 1950s. In a world focused on glamor and status, Joan Fortier has always been the center of attention, but no one loves her as much as her best friend, Cece. Friends since age five, Joan and Cece share a complicated past. Told from Cece’s perspective, the narrative cuts back and forth between 1957, when they’re in their mid-20s, and their adolescence, when Joan seems set up for the kind of privileged existence that Cece once assumed they both wanted—marriage, a family, and fancy parties. However, Joan seems to want more. To Cece, Joan seems vibrant and free, but it’s not until later that she realizes no woman in this particular society, not even Joan, can completely escape the social limitations imposed by gender. The narrative sometimes succumbs to stereotypes, but the social milieu—and the attitudes that these women alternately embrace and rebel against—is vivid, and the relationship between Joan and Cece becomes increasingly compelling as the story progresses, resulting in a most memorable read. Agent: Dorian Karchmar, WME Entertainment. (May)