Friday, November 30, 2012

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

We’ve all been around a couple who can engulf the attention of an entire room merely by occupying it. Harry and Madeleine Winslow are that set; the natural ease between them is palpable and their chemistry is almost tangible. He is a recent National Book Award winner with a promising career ahead of him, and she is blessed with family money, but radiates beauty, elegance, and humility. Whether they are abroad in Italy after he receives the Rome Prize, in their ambrosial East Hampton home, or in gritty Manhattan, they are always surrounded by close friends and those who wish to penetrate their inner circle. During a summer spent at the beach, they meet 26 year-old Claire and, as the summer blazes on, she is slowly inducted into their world. Claire can’t help but fall in love with Harry and Maddy and at the end of the summer, it is no longer enough to just be one of their hangers-on. Told through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, Indiscretion is a juicy, page turning novel with writing that is sophisticated and lyrical. Deeply textured, full of light and darkness, and overwhelmingly sensual, this book will be the sexiest, most intimate story you read all year.

What an interesting story this was. In many ways it wasn’t at all what I expected but instead became an even better story.

The story is very basic: happily married man cheats on his wife. We’ve read countless stories like that, so what makes this one different? Partly, I think it’s the way it’s told. We don’t realize who the narrator is until a few chapters in and that kind of changes things for the reader. The narrator’s voice is unique although some scenes he “retells” are not entirely believable. It’s hard to think that someone could relate a whole scene without actually being present. That’s the only thing that bugged me, actually. The omniscient narrator who wasn’t, well, omniscient.

It’s a lovely, heartbreaking story that will leave you in pieces when you finish it, with consistent, good writing and a Great Gatsby atmosphere that just can’t be denied. All in all, I do recommend it to all literary fiction lovers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That sample is beautiful writing.