Back Cover Blurb:
"...is a stunning, lyrical tour de force that evokes Virginia Woolf's best novels, fluidly tracing- in form and content- the complex, labyrinthine, back-and-forth, between a married couple, both of whom are writers. It is a glorious work of art." --Robin Lippincott, author of In the Meantime, Our Arcadia and Mr. Dalloway: A Novella
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Adele knew she was in trouble when Tom’s long strides carried him in on that September night at Kat and Harry’s Café. White button-down shirt and jeans, black hair brushing his collar. He did not sense trouble when he sat at the bar, one stool between them, ordered a stout and placed his cigarettes near the ashtray. She had arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1988, and he in 1990. Each armored in a Ph.D., hers in Literature and his in Economics. Each with a divorce, motivating a change, a shift to some place else.
Then the awkward moment. The time silence hung in the air. Neither he nor she looked up, heads down studying their drinks, staring at anything to keep from saying the first word, being the one ever responsible. Adele, more than Tom, was used to being hit on. The silly lines that men still boys toss, most times nothing, but then the occasional bite from the woman who’s been sitting too long alone and conversation happens. Lips play over the second and third beers until the man and woman wind up in the back booth, darker than the bar, thighs touching. They talk of Buffalo Springfield and William Burroughs to pizza for breakfast and hangovers that last until the next night.
At a summer solstice party in Santa Barbara, California, fifteen years later, Mary with a flute of sparkling wine toasted Tom and Adele as the perfect couple. They turned to each other and kissed though she felt oddly out of time, as if the toast were premature. If perfect meant having all the desirable elements, she produced a smile that hid the reverse—the cracks and empty places. She listened to him speak as he told of days together writing at home and breaking for an Americano.
“Tell Mary about your new story,” she said.
“Negative Space,” Tom said. “Adele made it work, varying syntax, moving subjects to the end and staying with the image until it cracked open, releasing je ne sais quoi.”
She loved his expression of gratitude, that he saw her as a participant in his writing life. But she felt different, too much of a feminist to think of herself as a helper. She was a writer who sensed her confidence receding, being pulled under by his success. His hand, the one without a flute, touched her shoulder....