September 25, 2006 12:00 PM

by Janet Fitch

REVIEWED BY JONATHAN DURBIN

NOVEL

Fitch’s first book since her bestselling White Oleander is a moving tale of grief set in early-’80s Los Angeles. The novel follows the misadventures of Josie Tyrell, a punk misfit whose white-trash upbringing earns her the distrust of her boyfriend Michael’s wealthy, renowned concert-pianist mother. Early in the narrative, Michael commits suicide, leaving the women to duke it out over his memory. Fitch pulls few punches in her depictions of the women, whose relationship evolves from pure hatred to sick obsession. At its core, however, the book is about the dramas Josie experiences in mourning (debasing sex, various drugs, vast amounts of vodka) and how she finally comes to accept her boyfriend’s death. This isn’t light reading, but Fitch has crafted a rewarding story of power and grace.

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