Anne Enright, author of the 2007 Booker Prize winner, THE GATHERING, has written a new novel called THE FORGOTTEN WALTZ. It is told from the point of view of Gina Moynihan who has a lust-filled affair with a married man, Sean Vallely. They first meet at a garden party hosted by Anneâ€™s sister Fiona, and progresses from there. At first there are innocent (and not so innocent) looks, and then on a business trip in Switzerland, the affair begins in earnest.
Classical music, and the games of evasion and deception we play with the ones we love, create the engine that drives this lyrical, well-crafted story by acclaimed author Elise Blackwell. The premise is simple but compelling: Career violist Suzanne hears over the radio about the death of her lover, orchestral conductor Alex Elling, in a plane crash. She can only grieve secretly amid the members of her household, which include emotionally-distant husband Ben, irreverent best friend and fellow musician Petra and her young, deaf daughter. Suzanne soldiers on, rehearsing with her string quartet, playing second mother to Petraâ€™s daughter, until a phone call from her former loverâ€™s widow changes her life a second time. Suzanne and Alexâ€™s secret affair was no secret, in the end, and now his widow extorts a favor from Suzanne: to finish the viola concerto started by her deceased husband. Desperate to keep the affair secret, even now, Suzanne reluctantly agrees.
At first I thought this book was not for me as a male reviewer, for its focus is so much upon its central female character and her roles as daughter, wife, and mother. But I soon found Dori Ostermiller gripping me with her writing, and her uncanny ability to plot the emotional seismograph of a woman on the brink of an affair. “I want to ask if she ever felt she was falling through her life, pulled down through dream and memory by a force larger than gravity. I want to know if she felt the splintering pain of it — a terrible, fruitful pain like birth, a pain you can’t stop because you have to know what’s on the other side.”
August 19, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Adultery, Berkshires, Happiness, Life Choices, Massachusetts, Motherhood Â· Posted in: Contemporary, Debut Novel, Family Matters, NE & New York, Reading Guide
The first person narrator of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife is thirty-five year old Sarah Price, who has been married to Nathan Bennett, a fiction writer, for four years. They are the doting parents of an incredibly precocious three-year-old girl, Mattie, and a baby boy. Sarah, who was once a promising poet, is now a busy mother who has a full-time job as a business manager for the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University. She is perpetually worn-out, but considers herself to be relatively fulfilled. One day, Nathan throws a monkey-wrench into their relationship when he confesses that his new book, Infidelity, is not completely fictional. Nathan morosely admits, “I cheated on you.”
Francis’s story is a familiar one â€“ she’s a housewife who’s bored in her marriage, unfulfilled as a mother at home, and unsure of her own identity. She’s married to reliable, boring, regular Harry. They live in the suburbs of New York City with their two children, seven-year-old Cathy and three-year-old Bernie. The man she was once so attracted to when they married, has become chubby, clumsy, and pathetic in her eyes.