THE AFTER PARTY by Anton DiSclafani, is the author’s second novel, coming after THE YONAHLOSSEE RIDING CAMP (2013. This new novel is an intricate character study of two women and their friendship that begins in kindergarten. We follow their lives into adulthood. DiClafani writes sensuous prose. She’s not afraid to put it on the page.
Joan is a sophisticated, blonde socialite from a well-to-do family in Houston, Texas. The time frame is the 1950’s. The air is rife with oil and big money. The men are in charge, of almost everything. What’s left for the wives to do? They do lunch, sit on the boards of various charities, and drink too much at cocktail parties in the evening.
Cece and Joan become like sisters when Cece’s mother dies and Cece moves in with Joan’s family. But Cece begins acting more like Joan’s caretaker than her friend. Joan is out of control. Sex means nothing to Joan. She oozes sex. She’s not discerning about who she has it with, or where she has it. And Cece is determined to save Joan from her own self. Mary, Joan’s mother, struggles to keep Joan’s wanton ways a secret. Cece can not even begin to comprehend Joan’s seemingly unlimited desires and uncensored needs.
Then Cece marries Ray and has Tommy. They settle down. All this while Joan is missing in action. But once she returns it all begins again. Ray tires of sharing his wife with Joan. I will say that I got really tired of Cece’s obsession with all things Joan. It all became almost too much for me. By the time the secret came out of the bag I was about done with it.
The writing is very, very good. I think the future is bright for DiSclafani. She did a bang up job with sense of place showing us all how the socialites lived in Texas during the oil boom. She draws characters like fine wine. I only got tired of the obsession…