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Fin & Lady

In a delightful parallel to 'Auntie Mame,' two half-siblings (who have been estranged for years) find that their personal lives change drastically when tragedy throws them together. 

Fin & Lady, by Cathleen Schine, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 288 pages

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What if Holly Golightly had a trust fund instead of a "candy store"?

The gamine at the heart of Fin & Lady, Cathleen Schine's ninth novel, has a younger brother, not an older one, but she shares more than a few traits with Truman Capote's iconic heroine.

This quirky, engaging novel tells the story of 11-year-old Fin, who finds himself in the care of glamorous, flighty Lady after his mother dies. Fin has only met his half-sister once before she scoops him up from the family farm and whisks him off to Greenwich Village in her Kharmann Ghia.

Assessing her adorably sober charge as “too old for a nap, too young for a drink,” Lady prescribes Broadway musicals and ice cream sodas at Schrafft's.

Lady, who ran away to Europe rather than become a teenage bride, was spoken about in whispers in Fin's house, if at all. The younger Fin was a little confused by the term "half-sister," and envisioned half a sibling. "Fin was left with the pictures of a girl cut off at the waist, of two legs, two feet, two black patent-leather shoes, two white socks."

While Lady swears by cigarettes, pills and sunglasses and can juggle rats as easily as Holly, her younger, more serious brother hails from a different movie.

Despite growing up in New York decades apart, Fin and Patrick Dennis from “Auntie Mame” could compare notes. Like Patrick, Fin can make a mean martini before he reaches high school and peppers his guardian with questions after dinner parties like “Who's A.J Muste? Why shouldn't honkies play trumpets? What's a honky? Where's Port Huron? What pill?”

Also like Patrick, Fin attends an experimental school where, in his case, they read Bob Dylan liner notes instead of books in English class and arrange colored blocks in math.


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