Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review: Indiscretion

Indiscretion Indiscretion by Charles Dubow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Indiscretion, probably consciously, has an air of The Great Gatsby about it as an ingenue, Claire, finds herself captivated by a golden couple, Harry and Maddy, living a life of etiolated prosperity in the Hamptons near New York with their young son. The captivation is reciprocated and Claire's emotional dependence grows into an obsession with Harry that sets them all on the road to tragedy. The story is told by the seemingly impassive family friend Walter, whose love for Maddy has been unrequited for decades.

In terms of narrative structure and writing style, the book is a delight. Dubow writes with a light, literary touch that raises Indiscretion well above pulp romance. It's a serious novel that is easy and enjoyable to read. Sometimes the fascination is with working out the apparently neutral Walter, whose reliability as a narrator becomes more doubtful as the book progresses. Five stars is justified, even if there are undoubted flaws.

The most serious flaw, and for me the only serious flaw, is that there isn't quite enough depth of character. Claire's, Harry's and Maddy's emotions are real enough, but their psyches aren't well enough developed to provide a bedrock for their emotions, which can leave readers wondering why they should care about them. That wasn't enough to spoil it for me, but I can understand why others disagree.

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