Skipping a Beat

Sarah Pekkanen, Washington Square, $15 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-0982-0
Dead in the first sentence of Pekkanen's strained second novel (after The Opposite of Me), Michael Dunhill, a D.C. hotshot and the millionaire husband of narrator Julia, comes to after a few flat-lined minutes, ready for a change. What follows is a disjointed exploration of his wife's coming to terms with this development and a bulky series of flashbacks. Michael's near-death resolution involves restoring his marriage and donating his wealth to charity, much to the displeasure of Julia, who has become overinvested in their wealthy lifestyle. Michael spends most of the book radiating the grating beneficence of a religious charismatic while Julia moves from understandable annoyance to love and regret—all without much convincing connection. Pekkanen does sometimes break through the surface to offer occasional insight into married life or the effects of wealth and power, but much page space is consumed with familiar frivolities like designer clothes, chocolate binges, and fruity drinks shared with saucy friends. It doesn't achieve the substance it strives for, but readers seeking yet another quippy diversion won't be disappointed. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/22/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4516-0983-7
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7318-1527-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-6452-3
Open Ebook - 978-1-4587-9587-8
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