Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Call me old-fashioned, but I like for my books to be written in a mostly narrative style, with the exception of a couple of novels (Vanessa and Her Sister and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) that consist primarily of letters.  I found the format of this novel to be quite off-putting, as it is composed entirely of one snippet after another—some quotes and some musings from an unnamed wife in Brooklyn.  The musings are often whiney, but when the wife finds that her husband has been having an affair, perhaps there is cause to be whiney.  The husband seems like a great guy, except, of course, for his marital infidelity.  The two have a small daughter, who appears to be the primary reason that the husband and wife make an effort at reconciliation.  This isn’t just a marriage that goes through a bad patch; it’s a marriage on the brink of destruction that may not be worth salvaging.  The beginning and ending chapters are first-person (except for the aforementioned quotes) from the wife’s perspective, but the middle, in which the marital strife comes to a head, is in third person, as if the wife has distanced herself from her own thoughts.  To me, this is sort of like imagining yourself in a movie (“she” did this or that), and I have mixed feelings about whether this changing of person works or not.  I certainly did notice and felt some relief when the author switched back to first person, because, for one thing, there are fewer ambiguous pronouns to decipher.  Some reviewers have said that the most well-drawn character is the 5-year-old daughter.  Funny, but I can’t remember a thing about her.  Anyway, this is another fast read, helping me pad my book count for the year.

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