Women on Divorce: A Bedside Companion
The editors of the anthology Women on Divorce now use the same format to examine the men's side of marriage break-up: 15 authors write about their divorces. Benjamin Cheever is droll: ""Like most men, I thought that I'd married the woman I loved because she wanted to get married."" John A. Williams discusses how his decision to become a writer ended his marriage; Richard Gilman analyzes his wife's Japanese divorce; Edward Hoagland sees fidelity in a sociological and territorial way (the Beats and Manhattan's East Village in the 1950s, the West Village and the hippies in the 1960s); Lawrence Block writes humorously about learning to live as a ""single"" rather than as someone simply between relationships (and how that led to a successful new marriage). In their introduction, the editors compare their two anthologies and note that the children of divorce play a much less prominent role here than in the women's collection and that the men seem to have idealized their wives--at first--much more than the women had their husbands. Men also seem more prone to ""serial divorce"" (repeating the same pattern in one marriage after another) and are more aware of how divorce can become a family tradition. Other contributors include Tim Parks, Daniel Asa Rose, Ted Solotaroff, Stephen Dobyns, Walter Kirn and Louis Rodriguez. The literary quality is uniformly high, making this a rare, unusually focused anthology of original essays that both entertains and instructs. First serial to the New Yorker. (Feb.) FYI: Also in February, Harcourt Brace/Harvest will publish a paperback edition of Women on Divorce ($12 ISBN 0-15-600462-3).