Elaine Kagan, Author . Morrow $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-018474-2

Writer and actress Kagan (The Girls) pens a domestic drama that turns on a romantic triangle. Jack North is a retired cop and grandfather of four, living seven hours from Los Angeles. Most of the time, Jack is a good husband to Linda, his wife of 35 years. But once a month he gets an itch, leaves home without warning and drives to L.A. to spend a few days with his mistress of six years, Rachel, a freelance journalist. Even though wife and mistress have never met, they each know about the other—Linda has read Rachel's articles, for example. When Jack disappears en route to visit Rachel, she has no choice but to contact Linda, and the two eventually meet face-to-face. Kagan is adept at evenhandedly portraying the familial and societal disapproval each woman suffers before Jack's disappearance: Rachel for loving the wrong man and Linda for not leaving him. The author effectively uses the narratives of secondary characters to show why some women stick around and why some good men stray. The big loser here is Jack, who never gets to tell his own story and comes across as boorishly inconsiderate of both women. Unlike the stereotypically salacious triangle, this story is just plain sad, leaving the reader with the thudding truth that many a "romantic" triangle comprises three unexceptional people who have reached an implicit détente. Like Kagan's No Good-byes, this is a good summer read—quirky, emotional and simply plotted—but readers may wish it offered a bit more sunshine. (May 14)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 05/01/2002
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-06-103137-3
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!