Picks and Pans Review: Man and Wife

updated 03/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Tony Parsons

Someone once said that love is the quest, marriage the conquest and divorce the inquest. London TV producer Harry Silver is obsessed with all three as he begins his second marriage, to a gorgeous caterer named Cyd. Harry would be a happy bloke were it not for his quarrels with his ex-wife Gina, who moves to America with their 7-year-old son, and his infatuation with the shy Japanese photographer who moves into Gina's house. Cyd has an admirer too, an exec who, Harry notes, wants to "get his hands on your canap├ęs."

Parsons is a charmer with a gift for rueful humor; on visits, Harry's son is "handed over like a Cold War hostage at Checkpoint Charlie." If you have a cry button, prepare to have it pushed by the sweet sentiments that put this sequel to 2001's Man and Boy atop U.K. bestseller lists. Tenderness, though, can turn to mush. A wedding ring is a "band of burnished gold that somehow contained the entire universe"; a baby is "the greatest miracle." No argument there, but no originality either. (Atria, $23)

BOTTOM LINE: May raise blood sugar to dangerous levels

Page-turner of the week

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