THIS book is what prompted me to solicit short book recommendations last week. At 233 pages this novel knocked me on my proverbial arse.
I've never read Wolitzer, but her reputation as a badass writer precedes her. In fact, I own The Uncoupling, The Ten Year Nap, and at one time, The Position. But did I read them? No. It took a short book to entice me, and I could not be more enticed.
At 35,000 feet, Joan Castleman decides to leave her famous writer husband, Joe. He will accept the prestigious, incredibly lucractive, Helsinki Prize, and as Joan is along for the ride, she's also incredibly fed up with Joe's bombastic crap.
What follows is a chronicle of the early days of their marriage, their ups and downs, Joe's successes, and their mutual failures as parents and as a couple.
Wolitzer's writing is whip-smart and stings at times. I loved Joan's feistiness, even if much of it was only in her head as she reminisced over their years together.
The way the book is set up, the reader KNOWS there is a big SOMETHING building, and it's amazing to me that Wolitzer could build anything significant over 200ish pages. It really is a talent I admire--the ability to be concise yet probing. While I did guess one big development, Wolitzer knows the reader all too well, and threw in a second end-of-book sucker punch for good measure.
What results is a fascinating examination of domesticity, personal responsibility, and a novel that questions our motives and innermost insecurities.
In 233 pages!!! OMG, just read it.
Pub. Date: August 2003
Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Bought it!