By Kate Wilson
September 22, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Cousins

B-
type
  • Book
Genre

THE COUSINS Rona Jaffe Her trademark phrases — sad little gimlets that forever skewer an incident — glitter in every chapter. A Jaffe dress isn’t just expensive; it has ”a price tag that looked like a phone number.” But gimlets alone can’t hold together this sprawling saga about an extended family. Even the central story about beautiful, smart, vaguely embarrassing-to-the-family Olivia is so untextured that it reads like a preface. And for every crisp vignette there’s a limp cliche, like ”Maybe her mistake had been to grow up” or ”kids today were strong-willed enough to insist on having what they wanted.” The Cousins may please Jaffe’s battalions of fans, but it won’t win her new recruits. B-

The Cousins

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