Jenkins’s autobiographical second novel (after Relative Distances, 1990) explores the miasma that ensues in the wake of divorce, as Louise, a Seattle-based screenwriter and mother of two, steps right from signing the papers into an affair with a married movie director. Whenever Louise turns over her two boys to her former husband, she’s inclined to head down to LA, staying with friends and waiting for an opportunity to be with M. Their relationship is strictly defined, and in the long hours and weeks between liaisons Louise has plenty of time to wonder what she’s doing. Her extended family provides diversion in the form of an estate in Texas that needs to be settled; she comes away the ambivalent owner of a Lincoln Towncar she eventually accepts as a part of who she’s becoming. This process of self-redefinition, accelerated when M. invites her down to a shoot in Mexico City and ignores her to lavish attention on a stuntwoman, brings Louise to the realization that she can do more with her life than wait for her lover.
Frank, probing, at once mobile and obsessive, but the whole is a bit less than the sum of its parts.