cover image Swing Set

Swing Set

Joanna Kadish. CreateSpace, $12.75 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-4839-0902-8

Sexual ennui cloaks a much deeper relationship fissure in this disappointing novel by Kadish, set in a moneyed enclave on the New Jersey shore. The passion once shared by Shelly and Steve Isaacson has cooled after four years of marriage, so the two attempt to stoke their ardor through online pornography and visits to sex clubs, ultimately landing on a website for swingers. But their swapping escapades fall frustratingly short—meeting a couple to whom they’re both attracted proves difficult, and when they do, jealously and insecurity come into play—and their union deteriorates at light speed. Shelly secretly engages in casual sex while plagued with thoughts of her disintegrating marriage; Steve grows increasingly agitated over money worries and concerns about his parents’ health. It’s very difficult to care about these paper-thin characters, as Kadish’s uneven writing isn’t enough to compel readers to invest in their struggles; indeed, she never truly offers an explanation as to why the Isaacsons are together or want to stay that way. Riddled with clichés and overwrought prose that lead to a ridiculously abrupt denouement, this one is best left on the shelf. [em](BookLife) [/em]