His Wife Leaves Him

Stephen Dixon. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (600p) ISBN 978-1-60699-604-1
In his stunningly intimate 16th novel, Dixon delves into the consciousness of author Martin Samuels after the loss of his wife, Gwen. Paralyzed by shock and guilt over her death, Martin revisits the moments that make up a marriage and a life—from the couple's initial meeting through the birth of their two daughters and into middle age. Told breathlessly with few paragraph breaks, the novel assumes the shape of the inner workings of Martin's mind as he lingers in the past moving from memory to memory, conversation to conversation, sometimes chronologically but often not, unveiling the arguments, private jokes, intellectual banter, and tender moments that comprise a decade-long marriage. Through dozens of scenes both ordinary and remarkable, Dixon fully humanizes Martin who in turn does the same for his late Gwen, revealing passions, tendencies and flaws. A peek into the private world of their marriage proves the novel to be more than the sum of its parts as the reader is granted a panoramic view of the evolution of two characters and their relationship. Dixon excels at evoking the nature of memory with its lapses, intricately linked associations and emotional force. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/16/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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Open Ebook - 600 pages - 978-1-60699-722-2
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