Everyone wins this game of literary tennis, a comedy of manners about envy in which Wickham skewers the nouveau riche. At their country estate, Patrick Chance and his wife host a weekend tennis party. As four couples gather on the sunny terrace, it seems obvious who among them is succeeding, and who is falling behind. But by the end of the party, nothing will be quite as certain. While the couples children amuse themselves with pony rides and rehearsals for a play, the adults suffer a series of personal revelations and crises. Wickham’s nonstop action reveals at every turn that matters may not be as they seem, and in the end, one thing is crystal clear: the weekend is about anything but tennis.
It took a long time to get into this novel. In the beginning, the characters are so superficial and spoiled that it was hard to care for or related to any of them. I stuck with it, though, and eventually you see different sides of the characters and you realize the first impression isn’t always the right one. At that point, I was interested to see how the characters would resolve everything.
Except there really isn’t any resolution. A few people figure things out, but then other people just continue to have terrible, self-centered lives. It was really hard to care about most of the characters, and the ones I cared about didn’t have any type of ending — they just wandered away (presumably to never change).
This is really a book about first world problems. The only real issues are the ones they create for themselves, and most of those come from the characters making superficial, self-centered decisions. This is one of the few books I’ve finished reading and been disappointed when I got to the end.
R-rated for language and sensuality. Get your copy here.