From Walker (The Golden Thread, 2004, etc.) comes a novel about one Christian man’s experiences with adultery in a changing world.
Paul Wilson, an inspector with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, seems to have his life in fairly good shape. He has three happy children, a comfortable home, and a sturdy belief in God. Though he fears nuclear war and the spread of Communism, his biggest problem seems to be his wife, Barbara. Put simply, “She never seemed to have a great interest in sex.” As Paul laments, “Surely, I thought, there must be some woman somewhere in the world who would like to have sex with me!” So it is that this politically conservative (“Government programs just lead to boondoggling and waste,” he says) Mr. Fix-It (“I enjoyed doing my own maintenance work”) finds himself searching for, and eventually finding, extramarital affairs. As the narrator’s aptitude for erotic touching increases—e.g., “I took a breast into my hand and held it and pressed it and caressed it”—so does an eventual sense of guilt: “I wasn’t the Christian I should be.” After all, how can a man who categorizes careers based on their relevance to serving Christ (“When it came to employment, I thought, some jobs are inherently Christian”) reconcile such behavior? However, even as Paul causes strife with his family, he is unabashed about enjoying his sex life. Explaining one such tryst, Paul tells the reader, “I moved about the entrance for awhile, then plunged downward into the velvety and heavenly organ.” At 600-plus pages, this is more nuanced than a simple morality tale, and those who foresee a simple arc of sin and redemption will find surprises waiting in later chapters, especially as society itself takes a severe left turn. Getting there can be tedious, particularly as events of limited interest pop up, as with countless love letters and the matter-of-fact details of a trip to Southern California: “We walked along the beach at Santa Barbara; toured Universal City and Disneyland…and visited the mission and Old Town and Seaport Village at San Diego.”
Exploring dreams as well as nightmares, this novel ventures to both familiar and unexpected places at varying speeds.