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Two college chums-one an ambitious Jew, the other a privileged, guilt-burdened WASP-who first meet in 1963 as Harvard seniors find their lives separating and intersecting around the same woman over many years, in Hershon's searing novel about class, ethnicity, and love (both platonic and romantic). Ed Cantrowitz is straight out of Dorchester, England, abrasive but winningly forthright; Hugh Shipley, heir to a valued name but decayed fortune, is deeply ambivalent about both his old-money connections and his own obvious charm; and Helen, Hugh's high school sweetheart, all forge a connection that defies conventional wisdom. Even though their intimacy comes to a nominal end early in their lives, for reasons known only to Helen and Ed, the impact of this connection echoes through decades, as each goes his or her separate way, living life, raising families, working in Africa, Haiti, or Wall Street, and, in one case, going to prison. The intensely detailed love triangle is reminiscent of an East Coast elite answer to the Midwestern trio of Freedom, but with mere keen observation in place of that other novel's sweeping moral pronouncements. Hershon (The German Bride) explores the ways we can, and can't, escape our backgrounds. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman, WME Entertainment. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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In the early 1960s, two young men meet at Harvard. Hugh Shipley comes from old-money Boston, and brash Ed Cantowitz is from blue-collar Dorchester. Ed is envious of and awed by Hugh's wealthy family and his girlfriend, Helen, and the friendship breaks up as the two embark on widely differing paths after leaving college. Ed's goal is to make as much money as he can, while Hugh devotes himself to establishing health clinics in desperately poor third world locales. Yet Ed's meteoric financial career crashes dramatically, while Hugh is sidetracked from his humanitarian pursuits by demons of his own. In later years, both men, married and settled, have daughters who, like their dads, become close friends in college. Will the friendship of these two bright young women succumb to the same pitfalls as that of their fathers? Hershon (The German Bride) deftly explores how individuals often sabotage their chances for happiness. VERDICT The characters in this novel are fully realized, the story moves along at a fast pace, and the author is well informed about her subject. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/12.]-Leslie Patterson, Rehobeth, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* This multigenerational saga spanning almost five decades kicks off with the meeting of Ed Cantowitz and Hugh Shipley at Harvard. The driven Jew and the aimless blue blood couldn't be more different, but Ed's persistence with the laconic Hugh cements their friendship. When the love of Hugh's life, Helen Ordway, comes back into the picture, the three become an inseparable trio. Hugh and Helen try, with little success, to find a girlfriend for Ed. Upon graduation, Hugh makes his way to Tanzania to participate in a documentary, while Ed heads to Wall Street to work for Helen's father. While Hugh falls into aid work overseas, Ed forms a company with three other men and becomes a stunning success. Helen floats in between them, until a rash encounter with Ed sends her back into Hugh's arms and causes Ed to cut off contact with the pair. Years later, Hugh and Helen's daughter, Vivi, befriends Ed's daughter, Rebecca, at boarding school, bringing the three adults together once again. Sharply observed and masterfully constructed, Hershon's (The German Bride, 2009) fourth novel is her strongest yet, a deft and assured examination of ambition, envy, longing, and kinship.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2010 Booklist