Best-selling memoirist Deborah Copaken Kogan (Shutterbabe) returns with her second novel, The Red Book, a lively story following several former Harvard roommates at their 20th reunion. Every five years, the infamous “red book” compiles classmates’ personally written recaps of tragedies, divorces, job successes, children and deaths in a bound red volume delivered to each alumni member. Its revealing entries begin each chapter, allowing readers to peer into the private lives of these former Harvard contemporaries.
Readers are introduced to headstrong Clover, a former Lehman banker who recently lost her job in the collapse of the company and is desperately trying to conceive with her husband. There’s flighty wild-child Addison—a former lesbian artist—whose tumultuous relationship with her trust-fund husband is hanging by a thread. Jane is a Korean war orphan who has recently lost not only her mother but also her first husband. And finally there’s Mia, a former star of Harvard’s stage who has now committed to being a full-time mother while married to a famous Hollywood director.
Fans of Mary McCarthy’s The Group will be drawn to these women (and the men who come in and out of their lives) as they struggle with their identities in their respective professional and personal fields. Here, the past affects the present, whether that means an arrest for unpaid parking tickets, furtively copulating with old flings, rediscovering your vocation or hiding financial collapse to keep up appearances. But if the characters in The Red Book learn anything, it’s that their secrets will bury them faster than they think.