“At once serious and light-handed, these novels mark an auspicious debut for a natural—a brilliant—young writer.”
Danny Yoder, graduate student and deserted husband of Allegra, talks—and drinks—through the long night of his wife’s disappearance, waiting for her to (perhaps) come home. He talks in his own voice (“I’m the bastard of the piece. The bleak truth is that tonight would have been boring if Allegra came home.”) soon he is speaking in a carousel of vices conjured from memory or fancy, keeping him company while he keeps his panic at bay.
Here, captured with a rare combination of ventriloquial mimicry and a knowing tenderness, is the emotional whirligig that marriage (and the suspense of separation) can engender.
The friends. Isabel Schneider: 29, “fulfilled homemaker,” mother of three, the perfect graduate-student wife of Brian—swims in the morning, works in a daycare center, knows exactly how to spend the money her in-laws send to make a cozy home and refuge for her endlessly aspiring scholar-husband. And Zimmie Alp: 21, a born blues singer and composer, lover of Chopper—jock and blooming revolutionary—and pregnant with his child, believer in Free Relationships—no contracts. Zimmie has been (just temporarily) abandoned by Chopper. Isabel has just learned that her husband is unfaithful.
Through the days of their closeness, through the chinks in their immense difference, through talk Isabel starts to know who she is and Zimmie opens up to the aches that survive all her resolve never to be possessive. In their exchange of nerves, in the self-confrontation each inspires in the other, each moves away from a hidden scaredness towards the capacity for real and risky decision.