Wooden first novel about the trouble that ensues when the wife of an obstetrician who performs abortions has an affair with a local artist married to a deranged pro-lifer.
Except for a couple of fatally bad decisions, Annie and Michael Knowles would be just two more yuppies living in a dull town in upstate New York. Michael is a rising star at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Albany, an OB/GYN with a growing practice and a reputation for competence, tact, and compassion. Annie, in addition to raising two children, teaches a very popular creative writing course at St. Catherine’s College. But neither of them can fully enjoy the happiness due to those who live in carefully decorated houses and drive foreign cars. To begin with, Annie is extremely lonely. Michael works around the clock and ignores her at home, so she falls into bed with Simon Haas, a painter, drunk, and womanizer who also teaches at St. Catherine’s. Simon’s wife, the unstable Lydia, stays in bed for days at a time, sells lingerie in her spare time, and hangs out with a charismatic preacher named Reverend Tim. When Michael agrees to start doing abortions at a local clinic as a favor to an old girlfriend, he and Annie begin getting death threats. The Reverend Tim leads and organizes protests against Michael’s clinic, and he even more helpfully provides Lydia with a gun and shows her how to use it. Lydia, in turn, registers for Annie’s class and submits a lengthy pornographic description of some of Simon’s stranger sexual practices for Annie’s perusal. Eventually, there’s a kidnapping and somebody gets killed.
A lifeless and overwritten (“Albany was a city that wept bitterly and did not apologize for its weeping,” etc.) exercise in stereotypes—the venal clergyman, the workaholic husband, the religious fanatic, the dissipated artist—that provides very little to convince or delight.