The List

Tara Ison, Author . Scribner $23 (259p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9414-0

Isabel, a promising and dedicated medical student, is intent on becoming a heart surgeon, but she takes a detour when she meets Al, a washed-up movie director who now clerks at a video store. The two meet at a midnight showing of his one and only film (a cult hit) and embark on an intense, sexually driven relationship. They soon realize they bring out the worst in each other ("dysfunctional, whipped idiots," according to Al), but after every breakup, they get back together, prompting Isabel to concoct a scheme to finally break it off: they are to go on 10 ideal dates with each other, and then "part amicably." As they work through the list, each begins to see the other differently and the list gets extended. The date ideas get more involved (group sex, going to the planetarium after eating psychedelic mushrooms) and the charged sexual chemistry between Isabel and Al morphs into abusiveness. Despite the satisfyingly dark buildup, Ison (A Child Out of Alcatraz ) only partially succeeds in constructing her characters' psychological underpinnings, which shortchanges the climax's intensity. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 10/02/2006
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-3917-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7432-9415-7
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