Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nothing Is Quite Forgotten In Brooklyn-Alice Mattison

Nothing Is Quite Forgotten In Brooklyn
Alice Mattison
Harper, Sep 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 9780061430558

In 1989 fortyish Constance "Con" Tepper leaves her Philadelphia home to stay in her septuagenarian mom’s Brooklyn apartment to watch the cat while Gertrude visits her friend Marlene in Rochester. Con has always wondered about the friendship between the two women that apparently dates back to WW II when she persuaded Gert to invest in a black market scheme run by her mobster boyfriend. In Brooklyn, Con is angry and jealous of her teen daughter Joanna who is accompanying her dad Jerry on a historical visit to Fort Ticonderoga; Jerry has never invited her on one of his history tours in spite of their years of marriage. The real shocker is when Marlene callas to inform her Gert died and that she, not the deceased daughters, is executor of the estate.

In 2003, a divorced Con lives in Brooklyn where she practices law. With Marlene, Jerry, Joanna and a friend coming at the same time to Brooklyn, Con looks back to 1989. However, it is Joanna who confronts Marlene over discrepancies in the account of Gert’s death and the legal aftermath.

Told in two interrelated novellas, this is an intriguing character study although there are too many subplots; some not fully developed. Each key protagonist is developed enough so that the audience sees their motivations and flaws. Fans will enjoy this look at the past as Joanna insures NOTHING IS QUITE FORGOTTEN IN BROOKLYN even when it occurred six decades ago.

Harriet Klausner

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