Description

Saroyan, Aram Their names alone evoke glamour: Oona O’Neill Chaplin, daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill and child bride of Charlie Chaplin; Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress to one of America’s great fortunes and fashion empress in her own right; Carol Marcus Saroyan Matthau, wife first of one of America’s most beloved writers, later of one of Americas most successful actors. What few people know about these very public women is the very private friendship that has tied them together since childhood in a charmed–and charming–circle. Here Aram Saroyan, the son of one of the three–with lifetime access to the others–has captured this glittering trio in a narrative that is at once intimate, funny, bittersweet, and as deeply moving as the friendship it describes. In their own cadences, Saroyan evokes the voices of the individual women, and even as we come to know them individually, we see the strong bond that made them–from their early days as debutantes in prewar Manhattan–a trio: a study in eerie similarity and in unquestioning loyalty. In each of their lives the silver spoon was tarnished by early tragedy–the experience of having been, in one sense or another, orphaned–and all three grew up to enter early into deep, sometimes destructive relationships with powerful, creative men. Through it all, from the forties through the eighties, surrounded by a cast of friends (and suitors–and husbands), the three women remained firm friends.