In Kane’s debut novella, a recently separated New Yorker discovers that the single life isn’t so bad after all—unless, of course, you’re still secretly in love with your spouse.
Eddie Walker doesn’t suffer fools gladly, which is why he lives in a city he ostensibly hates. A producer of commercials for large firms and local well-heeled businesses, Eddie views New York City as a trial to be endured and his estranged wife, Diane, as a burden to be ignored. He’s currently besotted with his much younger girlfriend, Cindy Smith, a commercial actress famous for ads in which she demonstrates how to tone her abs and backside. When Diane unexpectedly shows up one day at Eddie’s new bachelor pad to retrieve a toy their children left behind when visiting their father, Eddie tries to hide Cindy in the bathroom out of embarrassment and a lingering sense of propriety. Diane isn’t particularly embarrassed or surprised, as her children have mentioned that their father is living with Cindy. However, when Diane reveals she’s going on a trip with a new male acquaintance, Eddie discovers he’s not as over Diane as he suspected. Will the two of them divorce or rekindle their romance? Written in a blunt yet frequently chuckle-worthy style, Kane’s novella combines upbeat rom-com rhythms with a decidedly unsentimental view of love. When Eddie takes his children for a long-promised outing on horseback, “I told them, ‘I can’t get the horse started. Maybe he’s out of gas?’ ” This kind of basic but warmhearted humor populates the novella. Eddie’s brief stint with a commercial client is similarly slapstick-y but ultimately believable. Although the narrative structure isn’t original, the work has excellent pacing and doesn’t drag. Much like an episode of a long-running sitcom, it’s amusing but not profound. Kane explores the uncertainty of a trial separation with lightness and good-natured fun, ultimately delivering a logical, humorous—somewhat predictable—happy ending.
A sharp ear for dialogue and a natural sense of pacing help make this novella easy to read, with chuckles and pun-driven groans along the way.