VIRTUAL LOVE by Avodah K. Offit


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 Psychiatrist and sex therapist Offit, author of Night Thoughts (1981) and The Sexual Self (1977), has written an intriguing state- of-the-art novel about a ``virtual'' love affair conducted through E-mail. Dr. Aphra Zion--``go-dot'' is her electronic ID--twice-married mother of two, is a practicing New York psychiatrist/sex therapist who electronically befriends Marc Martell, ``E-man,'' husband and father as well as practicing psychiatrist/sex therapist. Martell has recently relocated to the West Coast because of his wife's career. Zion refers a patient with a sexual dysfunction to Martell and Martell finds himself drawn to this patient beyond the normal limits of his profession. A correspondence develops between the two doctors that becomes a springboard for each to probe without inhibition the erotic issues and primal relationships in their respective lives. At the core of Zion's psyche is a vengeful mother, who goes to extremes to exact punishment from an unfaithful husband. Martell, who grew up with an absent father, has become unable to make love to his wife. As confidences are traded, a complex attraction develops, ultimately culminating in a key meeting. Just how key is revealed in a surprise ending, where the characters' fates are entwined in a way no one could ever suspect. Despite a few tedious passages among those written as memoir, the novel as a whole is boldly conceived and deftly executed.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-87436-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994