Black Olives

Martha Tod Dudman, Author . Simon & Schuster $23 (180p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4960-4

In Dudman's slightly creepy first novel (after memoirs Expecting to Fly and Augusta, Gone ), a woman still hurt over an unexpected breakup nine months earlier lets her obsession get the better of her. Narrator Virginia is a divorcée who believes she has found the perfect relationship with David, also a divorcée, until he unexpectedly ends it one New Year's Eve. After spotting David at a local specialty food shop (hence the title), Virginia hides in the back of David's Jeep, secretly rides home with him and eventually sneaks around in his house, roaming its rooms and indulging in memories of their relationship. Told in flashbacks, we learn that while she was content with their setup, David's desire to marry Virginia—and her repeated rejection of his proposals—led him to bouts of depression, impotence and the arms of another woman. Virginia is a tough narrator to root for—she frequently comes across as nastily self-involved—but for readers who can get comfortable in Virginia's head, there's a nice payoff at the end. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/19/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4165-6447-8
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-4165-4961-1
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