WAITING TO SURFACE by Emily Listfield


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The novelized account of how Listfield (The Last Good Night, 1997, etc.) coped with the unsolved disappearance of her almost ex-husband, sculptor George Dudding.

Sarah, the articles editor at a woman’s magazine (much like Self, where Listfield worked), is separated from her German-born sculptor husband Todd. After a meteoric rise, the faltering of Todd’s career has strained the marriage, and he has been sleeping in his studio, but both he and Sarah remain devoted to six-year-old daughter Eliza. Days before Todd is due back from a trip to Florida where he’s supposedly helping a friend, Sarah gets a call that Todd is missing. She learns that he was actually visiting an old girlfriend with whom he’d rekindled a romance. He walked out of the woman’s home after an argument, leaving behind his wallet and everything else. Was he murdered by the girlfriend’s jealous boyfriend; has he disappeared on purpose as the local Florida policeman thinks; or did he walk into the sea and drown, as Sarah and the private detective she hires come to believe? Without a body, the case remains unsolved. Sarah is left to cope with Eliza’s grief and her own sense of loss. At the same time, Sarah navigates the shark-infested waters of magazine publishing and revels in NYC career-girl banter with her friends, and the reader, about diets, clothes and who is after whose job. With a coworker, Sarah begins developing a new magazine idea. Four months after Todd’s disappearance, she is also dating a cute magazine designer. Barely a year after his disappearance, Todd’s work is embraced posthumously at a major gallery opening attended by Sarah and Eliza. Sarah gets to be both a noble heroine overcoming great loss and a plucky career girl making her mark and getting her man.

Like the character Sarah, the novel is an uneasy mix that never quite rings true.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4165-3783-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2007


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