Style and subject don't mesh in this novel, which is a hard, brilliant satire, tough to warm up to. Twenty years later the funeral of their friend Agnes's lover reunites four roommates from Catholic Mount Maria College at the Fulcrum Institute, a luxury hotel/compound for celebrities in Florida. Graduates of Mount Maria in the early 1960s, the four womenAgnes, a social worker and unhappy wife; Georgia, a moderately successful newspaper columnist; Kath, a strung-out poet; and Mickey, a housewife who still wears short white gloves to partiesare ill-prepared to cope with middle-aged marital breakdown and moral ambiguity. While Reed's sketches of dissipated scholars and showbiz people at the Institute are on target, her story calls for a stronger narrative thread, less bite and more heart. Joyce Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, N.J.