The Private Life of Axie Reed

The Private Life of Axie Reed

by John Knowles

Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
''The Private Life of Axie Reed'' also takes place against a backdrop of wealth and privilege -most of it is set in Southampton, L.I. - but it surprisingly evinces none of Mr. Knowles's usual gifts. The book is obvious, poorly written and perfunctory in both tone and execution. It reads like the sort of name-brand schlock novel one might buy at an airport, though it lacks the tarted-up sex scenes and epic length associated with that form. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a thin, disappointing story by the author of A Separate Peace, which has remained in print for over 25 years. Knowles's heroine, Alexandra (Axie) Reed, a stage and screen star, makes headlines at age 50 after a fall leaves her gravely injured. Axie's young cousin and purported biographer, Nick Reed, is the narrator, staying at her Long Island home with others who adore the actress and await word from the hospital on her condition. Nick muses over Axie's relationships with those present: her ex-husband, Lambros Talouris, arriving from the Greek island where the marriage began and ended; his brother Spyro, Axie's lifelong friend; her manager and former lover Douglas Shore. While they discuss plans for caring for Axie during her convalescence, she is deciding whether she will fight to live or, for reasons left unclear, ensure her own death. Presented as impossibly perfect, Axie is not convincing; nor are the other characters. Only Knowles's ambient descriptions of the Greek island and of Axie's sanctuary in the Hamptons pique one's interest. (April 23)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Knowles proposes to tell his readers ``what would happen at the Parrish Art Museum Ball in Southhampton, Long Island, in the Summer of 1981.'' To wit, one Axie Reed, the most WASPish actress since Hepburn struck poses in The Philadelphia Story , waltzes off a raised dance floor and does serious injury to herself. She spends the rest of this mercifully short novel in a hospital bed, reminiscing on her career and her marriage to a Greek shipping tycoon. While the passages set in the Greek isles flow smoothly, Knowles's writing is embarrassingly cliched throughout; seemingly no adjective is too jejune for this novel. Worse, it is a novel of character but nothing suffices to bring Axie Reed alive. The reader is left uninvolved in her past, present, or future. Carl S. Vogel, San Francisco P.L.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

Meet the Author

John Knowles, who died in 2001, was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, as well as a recipient of the William Faulkner Award and the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

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