Talking in Bed

Antonya Nelson, Author
Antonya Nelson, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-68678-2
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-684-83800-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-88716-9
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-0-547-56139-4
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Fans of Nelson's three short-story collections (one of which, The Expendables, won the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction) will not be disappointed in her first novel, a provocative portrayal of the psychology of domestic crisis. This is the story of a bizarre and compelling friendship between Evan Cole, a clinical psychologist with a somewhat dysfunctional family, and Paddy Limbach, a roofer who has no idea how to keep a roof over his family's heads. Their attachment begins when both their fathers die within moments of each other at the same hospital. Theirs is an attraction of opposites: invited to Evan and Rachel's house for dinner, Paddy and Didi bring wine coolers, which hardly go with the gamehens Rachel has made. Indeed, Nelson pits all of her superbly realized characters in opposition to one another, generating great tension between friends, husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters. Envy, adultery and forgiveness figure in the plot, but the telling is never relentless or overbearing. Nelson's fine wit illuminates the comic within the tragic as she paints a stunningly nuanced portrait of the complexities and paradoxes of domestic life. (May)
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