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starts with an incredible, uncomfortable act: a woman leaving her child.From there, in 1998, the novel hurtles forward, set in Jamaica and New York, as mother and daughter, Patsy and Tru, live out separate fates that are connected by blood, but also by huge, unseen forces of politics, class, and race.While the novel’s crime plotting is not as exciting as it would be on prestige TV (and thank god for that), the voices of this small-town world are fascinating in Benz’s hands.Her prose is lush, verging on rich, as she describes humid, stormy summer nights and family tensions.There’s Rachel, a part-time editor at a feminist glossy who desperately wants to break through the YA novel scene; the congenitally lucky Sunny, who has married rich and is the kind of woman who simply deems herself “a creative”; and poor Geraldine, who is getting over a devastating breakup.As successes ebb and flow and alliances strain and stretch, Mechling zooms in on the constrictor knot of adult female friendships.
For three weeks, Toby alternately celebrates his newfound autonomy and rages over the mess his spouse has left him.
Patsy discovers that life as an undocumented worker in a city that is only becoming more stratified by wealth may not have been worth the price.
Dennis-Benn is a prodigious world-straddler, and not just geographically; her characters are memorable and fully drawn, and the devastating meta-legacies they conjure are all too real.
Along with the legends of Truman Capote and Eloise, Satow’s book tells of Betty Friedan’s all-female lunch in 1969 (an event that caused the flustered maître d’ to order the table removed from the premises), and time-travels from the original Plaza to the opening of the existing version, in 1907, up to the present, showing it’s always been an establishment in flux.
What began as a restaurant underneath the lobby was soon intentionally flooded and turned into a frozen ice-skating rink in the summer months; a few years after that, it became a racetrack for the owner’s nephew to race his miniature electric car.
But, just as collegiate first impressions can mutate and evolve, the book—along with its characters—grows increasingly complex, charting the way that the bonds forged in those heady moments when people are permitted to reinvent themselves can become the defining ties of adult life.