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This book's backstory is more compelling than the novel itself. Wolff's first book, Whistle Stop (1941), was published to great acclaim when she was 22. She went on to publish five more novels, but when her publisher asked her to do promotion for her seventh, she refused and put her manuscript in the refrigerator, where it remained for 30 years, until her death. Set in L.A. during the seventies, the novel tracks five disaffected couples, ranging in age from their early twenties to their late sixties, over the course of one weekend. The novel works as a meticulously detailed portrait of a certain time and place, anticipating a whole host of social trends, including the skyrocketing divorce rate, the ecology movement, and women's liberation. Unfortunately, the novel is dialogue heavy and, as a result, seems outdated, riddled as it is with exclamation points, quaint swear words, and too many "darlings" and "sweeties." Still, the plot, which takes some unexpected, sudden turns, makes for addictive reading, and Wolff does a remarkable job of individuating her multiple characters. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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