In Postcards from the Edge you could easily see that there was only a fine line dividing Fisher from the exploits of her main character, Suzanne Vail. After all, Fisher had been in drug therapy; so was Vail. Fisher was a movie star, daughter of movie stars; so was Vail. The success of Postcards from the Edge, however, wasn’t in the voyeuristic opportunities of seeing how Fisher’s life was like from her point-of-view, but the point-of-view itself: sarcastically caustic and witty. Well, it’s all back in Surrender the Pink. And I mean all back. Once again, you wonder just how much of Dinah Kaufman is fictional and how much Fisher. How much of this failed relationship between Dinah and her famous playwright ex-husband Rudy Gendler is taken from the break-up of Fisher and famous songwriter ex-husband Paul Simon. The wit and sarcasm are there as well, this time informed with brief quotes on the nature of sex in the animal kingdom. However, Surrender the Pink isn’t quite as satisfying as Postcards from the Edge. For all the action that takes place here, what one remembers are the interminable “talking heads” on the cliched differences between men and women. Even though the characters (and Fisher) realize that they are repeating cliches, it makes it no easier for the reader to swallow. The only thing that kept me reading at times were the occasional glimpses of true lunacy that was the focus of Postcards from the Edge. Surrender the Pink is also a more traditional narrative, with chapters and backflashes that flow evenhandedly, rather than the herky-jerky, episodic nature of Postcards from the Edge. Unfortunately, the bridges in Surrender the Pink probably would have been better exorcised rather than be allowed to bog the narrative as they do. For all its jerks, Postcards from the Edge was the better book.
[Finished 24 January 1993]