The Slippage

Ben Greenman, Author
Ben Greenman. Harper Perennial, $14.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-199051-9
Reviewed on: 03/18/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-210066-5
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In Greenman’s perceptive yet predictable novel about suburban living and its discontents, William and Louisa Day are a childless couple in their early 40s at a crossroads in their marriage. After exhibiting some erratic behavior, Louisa surprises William by announcing that she’s purchased an acre of land and wants him to build a house on it. William’s relationship with Louisa is complicated by the other women in his life: single mother Karla, a former lover with a 10-year-old son, Christopher, to whom William acts as a kind of surrogate father; and Emma, a married woman he casually slept with a year ago at a conference, who—rather too conveniently for the story—writes to say that she will soon be living right across the street from him. Emma is pregnant, but makes it clear that she’s still sexually interested in William. With pressure at his job and fears that a pyromaniac is on the loose, William and Louisa nevertheless begin work on their new house. But will this be enough to save their foundering marriage? Although not quite as emotionally unsparing as Revolutionary Road, it’s interesting to note that in the almost 52 years since Richard Yates’s novel was published, the state of affairs in suburbia, at least according to author Greenman (Superbad), remains status extremely quo. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)
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