THE INTERMISSION by Elyssa Friedland


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A couple puts their marriage on hold for six months to find out if they’re better together or apart.

From the outside, Jonathan and Cass Coyne seem like the perfect couple. He makes tons of money working at a hedge fund, and she works in theater marketing. Two beautiful, successful people about to start their own family…what could be wrong? But when Cass’ boss dies and she leaves her job, she begins to have trouble sleeping. As she tosses and turns each night, she starts to suspect that her marriage isn’t as perfect as she’s always pretended it is. Cass spent her childhood in poverty with neglectful parents, and she resents Jonathan and his snobby family for their wealth. And although Jonathan is still deeply infatuated with Cass, her behavior has started to grate on his nerves—for example, the way she feels guilty about hiring a housekeeper. Minor annoyances aside, Jonathan is shocked when Cass suggests a six month separation—or, in theater lingo, an intermission. For those six months, Jonathan will stay in New York and Cass will be in Los Angeles. They’ll live their lives as if they’re single, free to date other people, and when the six months are up, they’ll decide if they want to stay married. While they’re apart, crises occur (Cass’ mother gets sick, Jonathan’s company has a scandal) that make each of them realize why they need the other. Eventually, Cass and Jonathan must decide what’s more important—a “perfect” marriage in which no one is honest or being truly open and vulnerable in front of the person you love. The resolution feels a bit rushed, and Cass' and Jonathan’s decisions are sometimes so frustrating that it’s hard to understand why they’re together. Still, Friedland (Love and Miss Communication, 2015) paints a picture of a complex marriage between two flawed human beings.

A multifaceted look at the difficulties and rewards of marriage.

Pub Date: July 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-58686-6
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2018


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