cover image Him Her Him Again the End of Him

Him Her Him Again the End of Him

Patricia Marx, . . Scribner, $24 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-9623-6

Marx's unnamed protagonist, a Baltimore native turned Cambridge University graduate student, is struggling with her thesis on West Indian immigration when she meets Eugene Obello, fresh from Princeton and at Cambridge on a philosophy teaching fellowship. Though he's self-absorbed, distracted and cheesy ("I will always feel a great deal of agape toward you, O my everlasting," he tells the narrator) she falls for him. But he soon leaves her for the frequently ill Margaret, and the narrator is once again alone with her incomplete thesis. She quits school, returns to the states and lands a writing gig at a Saturday Night Live –type show, but Eugene lingers in her mind. He, of course, resurfaces in New York, and the two embark on an affair. (He has since married Margaret.) Marx, a former SNL writer and current New Yorker contributor, undermines her main source of tension—the narrator's obsession with Eugene—by failing to present Eugene as anything more than a brainy fop, and though his demise is fitting, it'll have E.M. Forster fans crying foul. (Jan.)