FALLING by John Taylor

FALLING

The Story of One Marriage
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A polished nonfiction writer exercises his powers of observation and his writer’s craft to reflect on his own marriage’s collapse. The title Taylor, formerly a contributor to Esquire and New York magazines (Circus of Ambition: The Culture of Power and Wealth in the Eighties, 1989), has selected for this memoir reveals his self-consciously honest and positive approach to the subject of his marriage’s demise as part of a larger whole. Aside from the effortless precision of his prose and his male perspective, it’s Taylor’s tone that distinguishes his story. Sadness, not bitterness, fills the book. As he describes the slow breakdown of his 11-year marriage (“a mechanism so encrusted with small disappointments and petty grudges that its parts no longer closed”) and surveys the consequences of separation, Taylor feels a deep sense of loss—both for his family and for the part of himself that was defined by his family. In a series of 32 brief chapters, Taylor entertainingly (albeit selectively) familiarizes us with the individuals and circumstances that contributed to his marital situations: himself and his own family, his wife and her background, their meeting, falling into marriage, and falling “through the darkness” out of it. In between we meet the cherished daughter, Taylor’s demanding or silly lovers, assorted divorcing friends and neighbors, marriage counselors, and finally, the marriage mediator and financial advisor who guided Taylor and his wife toward separation. Linking the assorted scenes and personalities is Taylor’s narrative, driven by a formidable ego (as a journalist, he lost a job due to his “attitude”) and by his search for “moral clarification.” Falling represents, in literary form, Taylor’s attempt to achieve such clarity and to come to terms with his own dishonesty and responsibility in the marriage’s failure. Taylor’s writing has style, but this book will most interest those—be they single, married, or divorced—with a curiosity about the most intimate details of someone else’s marriage. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-375-50094-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1998




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