In Saul’s second novel (Light of Day, 2005), a 40-ish man faces the lack of passion in his life when he becomes the executor of a college friend’s estate.
Geoffrey lives in Manhattan where he earns a living doing voice-overs and carries on a no-strings relationship with his girlfriend. One day he gets a call from a lawyer; his old friend Laura has died and he’s been named executor of her small estate. When Geoffrey knew Laura, he was at Columbia and she was at Juilliard. She moved to Paris with her husband, fellow jazz musician Steve, but when he died nine years ago, she moved back to her upstate New York hometown and taught music. Geoffrey drives up there and soon meets her best friend Marian, who also happens to be a widow. Narrator Geoffrey announces on the second page that he has fallen in love with Marian at first sight. The only problem is that Marian has a boyfriend she doesn’t even pretend she loves. Eliot runs the local hardware store and doesn’t like to discuss feelings (readers will sympathize after hundreds of pages of Geoffrey’s navel gazing). Marian uses their relationship to avoid feeling the kind of passion she had with her husband Buddy. Instead, since Buddy’s death, she has been clinging to his memory and her grief. She and Laura bonded as “the young widows.” It is less clear why Geoffrey has avoided emotional commitment, although he and his gay psychiatrist brother Alex certainly discuss their avoidance enough—at least until Alex meets and falls immediately in love with Laura’s wayward brother Simon, whom Laura and Geoffrey conspired to keep from attending her wedding long ago. By then Geoffrey and Marian are talking nonstop about their emotions. For a guy who claims to be out of touch with his capacity for feelings, Geoffrey is the most touchy-feeling fictional hero since Oliver Barrett IV, the main character in Erich Segal’s bestseller Love Story.
This talky love story will turn the most romantic reader into a curmudgeon.