cover image Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

Ramona Ausubel. Riverhead, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59463-488-8

The 1970s and ’60s are reexamined in Ausubel’s second novel, which takes place largely in the American bicentennial year of 1976. Coming from moneyed backgrounds, married couple Edgar and Fern Keating react in a surprising fashion to their impending insolvency. Edgar, a soon-to-be-published novelist, goes sailing off to Bermuda with a woman he just slept with named Glory Jefferson. And Fern embarks on a cross-country road trip from Cambridge to Palm Springs with Mac, a giant bank guard she just met. Due to a mix-up, the Keatings’ three resilient children, nine-year-old Cricket and the 6-year-old twins, James and Will, are left home alone. Interspersed with this narrative are numerous flashbacks to the late ’60s, as we see Edgar and Fern meeting, courting, marrying, and having children as the world seemingly goes to hell around them. Ausubel (No One Is Here Except All of Us) offers an incisive look at these schismatic years in American history and how they affect this couple and their friends and family members, including Fern’s twin brother, Ben, who is drafted into the army along with Edgar. There is true wit in the author’s depiction of these tumultuous decades, and with characters this memorable, the pages almost turn themselves. [em]Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (June) [/em]