Fiona and Liv are seniors at a small liberal arts school in rural Pennsylvania. Fiona, who is still struggling emotionally after the death of her younger sister, is spending her final college year sleeping with abrasive men she meets in bars. Liv is happily coupled and on the fast track to marriage with an all-American frat boy. Both of their journeys, and their friendship, will be derailed by the relationships they develop with Oliver Ash, a ruggedly good-looking visiting literature professor.
Berman’s spot-on dialogue keeps the pages turning in a novel with little plot, making her timely second novel a good, if less-polished, read-alike for Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion (2018). It should find a large readership.
... smart, engaging ... Readers expecting a typical love triangle won’t find one. Instead, Berman delivers a thorough and incredibly timely investigation into relationship power imbalances that’s sure to start a lot of conversations.
Certain themes, it becomes obvious, are the tent pegs holding up this long novel, which partly presents itself as a saga of female campus friendship but also wants to address weighty contemporary topics. The result is a restless, relatively eventless tale ... A readable but reductive and rather off-putting look at relationships, whether new or old.