Fin and Lady by Cathleen Schine


Newly orphaned Fin (named by his father for the “three bright white letters”
at the end of the movie “Les Enfants du Paradis” because he hoped Fin would be
“the last of his children”) goes to live with his half-sister Lady. Fin who is
11, and Lady, 24, have met only once before, six years earlier when Fin and his
parents were sent by Lady's mother to retrieve her from Europe, where she had
fled after ditching her fiancé at the altar. Since "ditch day" (and
probably before that too), Lady has experienced much of the world--possibly too
much, in fact. Hounded by suitors, unpredictable, adventurous to a fault, she
is a lot like Holly Golightly, only filthy rich.

Lady, Fin, and Fin's collie Gus form an unconventional family. Fin and the
dog move from their previous home, a farm in New England, to Lady's
"terrific, perfect, groovy" brownstone on Charles Street in Greenwich
Village. The time is the early 1960s, and in his new home, Fin is surrounded by
Charles Street beatniks instead of Connecticut cows. He misses his parents (and
his cows), and contemplates his new situation, worried that he and Lady are not
real family, just an adventure:

"He lay there in the unfamiliar
semidarkness, the sheet pulled close in spite of the summer heat, and he
wondered what more he could do to make Lady like him. She liked him, but did
she like him enough to keep him with her? Forever? He often felt that Lady was
just ahead of him, just out of reach, rounding the corner, leaving just a
glimpse of her hem as disappeared."

Cathleen Schine is also the author of the 2011 best-selling comic novel “The
Three Weissmanns of Westport.” As in that book, the characters in “Fin and Lady” - both
those whose names are in the title, as well as those with lesser roles - are richly
imagined, and much of the dialogue is smart and the descriptions funny. The storyline moves from New York to Capri
and back to New York.  But who is the
book’s narrator? You need to read to the
end of the book to find out!

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