Vacant Places

Stanley Middleton, Author New Amsterdam Books $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-941533-78-2
Thatcherite England is the setting for a well-crafted if excessively talky domestic drama by the prolific English author of Recovery. Henry Fairfax, an accountant saved from being totally dull by his avocation--writing critically acclaimed radio plays for the BBC--works for his former brother-in-law, prosperous entrepreneur Conrad Le Jeune. Henry's marriage to Conrad's sister Laura ended acrimoniously three years ago; now, however, she is a successful businesswoman, vibrant and expertly coiffed, who wants her ex-husband back. Henry's brother Jim also has marital problems, and when Laura, at Henry's urging, offers him a job, he accepts, abandoning his wife and moving to London. Laura, in the meantime, seduces a hesitant Henry, proposing that they remarry, on terms different from those of their previous, traditional marriage. She wants it all in a commuter marriage that is supposed to be emotionally satisfying but strictly part-time. Middleton's unabashed romanticism--true love wins out in the end--makes the book enjoyable, but his slow pacing strips it of intensity. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/28/1991
Release date: 04/01/1998
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-56131-036-4
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