George Lenhart is, chronically, in love with Kate Goodenow. So was Nick Beale, the working-class son of a Maine lobsterman. So is Chat Wethers, a friend of George's from Dartmouth. And so is Harry Lombardi, a brilliant, startlingly successful but pathetically uncool Dartmouth upstart who has been trying to enter this circle of friends for years. It is George who tells the interwoven stories of these five young people, and untangles the knots of rejections and disappointments, good times and engagements, achievements and failures that have tied these people to each other. And in doing so, he implicitly chronicles the end of an era -- of a whole culture -- and the emergence of a new definition of class.
"The words never matter, in books or on dates," says George Lenhart, the bemused narrator of Macy's clever and thoroughly entertaining debut novel. "[I]t is the tone that survives." Long after the final page, Macy's tone, elegant and ironic, does survive, but so do her vibrant characters and their youthful hijinks. Set in the early '80s, just after the Pam Am Building became the MetLife, Macy's novel follows a small set of Ivy Leaguers as they make their way in New York City. At the heart of this set is Kate Goodenow, the anorexic rich girl whose sharpest critical word is "un-fun." Though suspect in other women's eyes, Kate is deeply alluring to men, from George to his college roommate Chatland Wethers to Harry Lombardi, the middle-class Dartmouth dropout who surprises everyone by making it big as a high-tech venture capitalist. George, whose family has lost its money but not its good name, seems to know that Kate will always remain beyond his reach. Indeed, wealthy, upper-crust Chat is unofficially engaged to her when the novel opens. Kate, however, somehow falls for Harry, who is short and stout and possesses a Long Island accent. If Harry's courtship of Kate turns her clubbish set on its head, it also rocks Harry's hometown buddy, Cara McLean, the girl who taught him how to smoke when they were in junior high, and she does her best to upset the relationship. The recurrent trope is play (playing roles, playing Hearts, simply playing), and the novel turns on just who is playing for keeps. While the shadow of Fitzgerald falls across this novel, Macy has the good sense to gently mock the congenitally wealthy and to allow hardworking Harry his financial success. The author's wit is sharp, her word play is keen and even as she lets George play one last bittersweet hand with Kate, Macy never betrays her clear-sighted recognition that old money is simply that: old. 6-city author tour. Film rights to Scott Rudin. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
July 17, 2001
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.