Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE
ISBN: 978-0-9851156-0-9 (Paperback)
In a Prologue strongly reminiscent of the final scene of The Graduate but with gender reversal, author Sebastian Cole sticks a formidable fork in the life road of Noah Hartman. Should he proceed with the opulent wedding in which he is functioning as groom, or should he elope from his own wedding and run off with intruder Robin, who crashes by cab at the last moment, overweight, poorly dressed, but with profound protestations of the commodity that serves as the central theme of the novel: love?
Noah's dilemma successfully overhangs the series of flashbacks telling of Noah's fateful meeting with Robin, a Polish/Portuguese equivalent of Abie's Irish Rose, who really knows how to enliven a dance bar, the resistance the union encounters from Noah's Jewish family members, and the rocky road of the romance: marriage, divorce, almost immediate plans to re-marry, and "final" breakup.
As the reader learns more about Robin and her particular affliction with Borderline Personality Disorder, which results in an emotional constancy on her part roughly as steady as Madonna's, there is a tendency to think that if Noah has a brain in his head, he will re-cab Robin, return to the synagogue, and say "I definitely do" to bride Sarah, his acknowledged best friend. But in the course of the flashbacks, the reader learns that Noah has some fairly heavy psychological baggage of his own, including a love obsession worthy of that displayed in Of Human Bondage, The Blue Angel, and Carmen.
Through it all, it becomes clear, at least to this reviewer, that Noah is the less limited of the two. Robin's "undying" love for Noah has as many lives as your average cat, proves incapable of surviving without straying a single out-of-town solo sojourn, and requires nourishment with infusion of cash from her jilted husband. (Accepting a $20,000 check from Noah, who had every reason in the world to withhold it, Robin states that she's too busy to follow it up with a coffee with the feckless donor. Is it her dilettante-esque interest in becoming an X-ray technician that enables us to see right through her?) And it takes nothing more subtle than being raped by a beer-swilling/swollen lover to induce her to decide that the time may be right to make amends to wealthy and still-chiseled Noah, who has recently become a successful Hollywood screenwriter. Decisions, decisions.
Structurally, the novel is sound. In addition to the life-giving Prologue, the author well handles flashbacks and flash forwards due in some measure to the effective use of a kind of male nurse, who doubles as God and Greek chorus.
The book is well edited although a repositioning of a final prepositional phrase in the last sentence of the following quote might evoke a more realistic, albeit less athletic, image of a sex scene. "In Robin’s dream, she was making love to Noah, riding him. Outside, the ocean was turbulent as large, white waves pounded the beach in a violent storm. Lightning lit up the room, projecting the silhouette of her shapely body rocking back and forth on the wall."
The book's subtitle gives the reader an adequate warning that at times the narration is going to be plentifully populated with the verbal paraphernalia associated with popular romance novels. Males will be chiseled and females are going to be supple; that's just the way it is. But may we, please, soon achieve closure on the word, "closure"?
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