Picks and Pans Review: The Two of Us

updated 01/23/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/23/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Nora Johnson

The first section of this clever, funny novel by the author of The World of Henry Orient is about a sweet young woman from Connecticut who goes to California to become a movie star. Instead of a career as an actress, she gets a successful TV producer for a husband, an expensive house with a pool, and three children. She is also addicted to delivering little sermons about God and to shopping in the most expensive stores. The second section concerns her twin sister, a New York photographer. Divorced and childless, she is having a hopeless affair with a married man. When the sisters discover that after 45 years their parents' marriage is falling apart, they return home, where each twin learns some truths about the other. Johnson knows the sex-sun-drug culture of California and is merciless in depicting it. She is just as sharp in her descriptions of New York's frantic pace. While most of the novel is played for laughs, The Two of Us is the kind of comedy that says pointed things; it provokes cringes as well as smiles. (Simon and Schuster, $15.95)

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