Saturday, May 26, 2012

Love and Other Delusions



Love and Other Delusions
Author Larry Baker
In Alice's world, it all made sense. She told her husband: I stopped cheating on you when I started sleeping with Danny. He finally understood, but too late. Alice Marcher is dying, but she is still trying to understand her life. She was thirty when she met Danny Shay. He was eighteen. Two years later, they were sleeping together. Twenty years later, they parted. Alice insisted: It lasted so long, so it must have meant something, right? We weren't a cliche', were we? Katherine Arnett is Alice's audience, or therapist, or ghost. Only when Alice dies is Katherine's true identity revealed. The two women share a final moment in a room with a man who simply asks: Who are you? Only one woman knows the answer. A story came back to her as she died, fiction as real as her own life, and she herself finally understood it. A beast in a jungle had always been there for her, all those years with Danny. Her own incarnation of that beast, its breath finally upon her throat, had finally turned on her. She had done a very bad thing, falling in love with Danny, and the beast had always been waiting.
Review: Something about the stylistic rhythm reminds me of a song with the soft beginnings, pounding beats, rising, building and ebbing slightly, while floating before the dramatic ending...or is it a soft fade out?  Somewhere along the way I forgot I was reading fiction and slipped into a voyeuristic delusion. I was spying on these peoples lives, becoming absorbed and realizing just how possible something, which seems implausible, can be acceptable. Each character is faulted for their shortcomings, but created in such a manner that is humanizing, rather than victimizing, and by doing so, makes it that more tragic.  Or is it?  The story will make you think about relationships, the complexity and what we get from each one we maintain over a life-time.  What are these people to us and even though we share moments, our memories and value will greatly vary.  Love and Other Delusions is an enlightening read and perfect for a summer escape. 
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