Layover

Lisa Zeidner, Author Random House (NY) $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-375-50286-6
How does a mother cope with the death of her only child? Angry and grieving, medical equipment saleswoman Claire Newbold sheds her identity and becomes homeless. She occupies other people's recently vacated luxury hotel rooms, where she sleeps for hours, blotting out memories of the tragedy. What Claire can't escape are the other components of her past. Cardiothoracic surgeon Ken Leithauser, her husband of 17 years, accuses her of ""fuguing out,"" and begs her forgiveness for his brief affair with a colleague; her clients bemoan her truancy; and her persistent therapist frets about her survival. The thrill of evading hotel security soon fades, leaving Claire vulnerable to chance encounters with little boys who would be the age of her son, had he survived the accident that claimed his life three years earlier. She grows ever more reckless: while stealing a swim in a hotel pool, Claire meets a college freshman, Zachary Davidoff, in town with his recently divorced mother, and seduces him. Posing as a surgeon, Claire wangles dinner with mother and son and hatches a plan to bed the senior Davidoff as well. Ignoring her therapist's advice to return home, Claire cavorts with Zach's father, a sexy lawyer, realizing that robust sex is, for her, a panacea for grief, and staying in his plush bachelor digs while she awaits the results of the test for cancer. Now yearning to see Ken, she saves a youngster's life, and realizes she'll be able to face a future that will always include the pain of loss. In this spirited, original take on the subject of prolonged grief, Zeidner presents a moving portrait of a woman who reclaims her life through passion and humor. An accomplished prose stylist, novelist (Limited Partnerships) and poet (Pocket Sundial), Zeidner skillfully charts the map of Claire's vulnerable heart, eschewing the maudlin. Instead, she offers titillating--and sometimes funny--sex, and a wicked sendup of contemporary life, deconstructing the men whose professions give them a false sense of aggrandizement and the women who live with them. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-0-06-095649-3
Ebook - 268 pages - 978-1-4668-2535-2
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