O MY DARLING

Amity Gaige, Author
Amity Gaige, Author . Other Press $22 (248p) ISBN 978-1-59051-174-9
Paperback - 235 pages - 978-1-59051-230-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4555-5356-3
Open Ebook - 248 pages - 978-1-4555-5357-0
Hardcover - 137 pages - 978-1-4555-5773-8
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Crystalline insights into the nature of love and flashes of narrative brilliance buoy a plot-deficient first novel about the strains of a young marriage. Clark and Charlotte have just moved into their first house, which is still inhabited by ghosts of other marriages. Isolated in their suburb, Charlotte nervously jokes, "[W]e live in a little diorama or something. Help, help! Let us out!" Clark is mourning the freedom of imagination that seems to have perished with his mother's recent suicide. Dead-on dialogue (" 'You're alive!' she cried. 'You jackass!' ") and moments of suburban absurdity (a public joyride on a lawn mower; the curious arrival of a nude travel magazine in the mailbox) impart the acute delight more often found in short stories. While the horror-story elements (disembodied voices; visible spirits) don't add up to much and the themes of apology and forgiveness don't fully edify, gorgeous snippets on love and marriage ("Marriage is the only punishment great enough to fit the crime of love") compensate. Gaige's precise wordplay, sharp dialogue and bite-sized themes might be better served in story form, but her novel often sparkles and delights. (May)

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