Indiscretion by Charles Dubow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
3 1/2 stars.
I've been reading a lot of books about rich people lately. And I must admit that rich people's problems, around which this story revolves, simultaneously fascinate and infuriate me. With that out of the way, there was much about this book that I did enjoy.
This is the story of an affair and its devastating effects on a marriage and on a friendship. When Harry and Maddy Winslow meet young, vibrant Claire, they are both captivated. But only Harry cannot stop there. The two are soon engaged in a love affair which ultimately, and inevitably, has repercussions neither could imagine.
My primary gripe is with the narrator. The entire novel is narrated by Maddy's childhood friend, Walter, a lonely bachelor who has pined away for Maddy his entire life. I think Dubow's going for Nick Carroway feeling here, but while Nick provides a somewhat removed (even unbiased) perspective on Gatsby and Daisy, by the end of this novel, Walter comes off as a voyeur of sorts, obsessive to the point of creepy. I also had a difficult time with what felt like a device as Walter narrates the intimate scenes between Claire and Harry. I know, I know, he explains how he has access to this information via Harry himself and his writing (Harry is a National Book Award winning novelist). However, it felt (at times) contrived.
My other complaint has to do with a chapter near the end of the book. I don't want to spoil anything...but in case you're sensitive to that, STOP HERE. But it has that Freshman English "and it was all a dream" quality that I just can't tolerate. I actually both anticipated it and then grimaced when it happened. I get what he was trying to do...but blah.
My last complaint is not about the book per se, but rather about Harry himself. I hated Harry. I just did. He had everything and still wanted more. I know this is the point of the story, but I feel like he got his just desserts. And because I didn't care much for Maddy either, I wasn't sure where my sympathies should lie? With Walter? Maybe with Claire.