The back of the book strongly pushes the sex aspect of the story, but I think really the story is about grief. It explores different types, degrees, and methods of grieving, along with different losses â" children, siblings, intimacy, innocence and purity. Will is self-analytical to an annoying degree, and there were several times when I just wanted him to shut up already. If you don't mind that, this is a pretty good story. I do wish you got to spend some more time with Carole. She and Will don't really come alive until the end of the story.
Stress, guilt, pain - they all collide in a middle aged man's life to create a crisis of enormous proportions, bringing to life old pains he never even knew existed....
Beautifully written...Kathryn Harrison is a wonderful writer. Although this was a very good book, I was a bit disappointed in that I wanted it to go further, and if I say more I will spoil it! Still, I highly recommend this and any of her books.
Starred Review. William Moreland, the 47-year-old New York psychoanalyst at the center of Harrison's sixth novel, has a family that's awash in betrayals. Will's father, a retired veterinarian turned photographer, is having an affair with the owner of his gallery. Will's brother, Mitchell, a long-distance swimmer with "a name as recognizable as that of, say, Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods," is estranged from the family. And ever since Will's 12-year-old son died three years ago in a boating accident, his wife, Carole, has been emotionally and sexually distant. All these wounds pucker open when Will attends his college reunion and runs into a statuesque ex-girlfriend who left him 25 years ago when she may or may not have been pregnant with his child. That past betrayal becomes entangled with the others in Will's life and leads to further transgressions and revelations. Given the steamy, soap-operatic nature of this plot, it's remarkable how Harrison renders it emotionally plausible, in sinuous, sensitive and often funny prose, exposing the raunchiness of sex and the "obscene" nature of mortality. Will's profession as an analyst seems too convenientallowing Harrison to analyze her own novel through the voice of her main characterbut this is a pardonable flaw in a book so juicy and intelligent. (July)
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So bad that I could not even finish reading it!
Kathryn Harrison's Envy is an engaging, suspenseful, self-contained novel. I say "self-contained" in the sense that it cleverly constructs a universe around the protagonist, a middle aged psychoanalyst named Will, which veers off from plausible life experience. The death of a child, an estranged and disfigured identical twin who becomes a famous long distance swimmer, potential paternity suggested by a college reunion class update report, and uncontrollable sexual fantasies of his female patients seem like an excess of subplots, but after one dramatic scene all these elements pull together and the title begins to make sense. Most of the action involves Will's attempts to make sense of his present situation, through inner monologues, therapy sessions, and lunchtime conversations with his father, so readers who don't enjoy "psychobabble" might not find the sex scenes compelling enough to pick up this well-crafted story.
A very good book by one of my favorite writers.
Couldn't put this one down, psychological drama at it's best!
given to me by my neighbor. Definitely not my cuppa