Envy

Kathryn Harrison, Author
Kathryn Harrison, Author . Random $24.95 (301p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6346-8
Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Paperback - 314 pages - 978-0-8129-7376-1
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-307-43093-9
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-0-00-721661-1
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-00-721663-5
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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 convenient—allowing Harrison to analyze her own novel through the voice of her main character—but this is a pardonable flaw in a book so juicy and intelligent. Agent, Amanda Urban . (July)

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