THE MARRIAGE HEARSE by Larry Duberstein


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A sometimes self-conscious but generally funny first novel about a writer juggling three women. The 40-ish narrator, Maurice Locksley, is a Boston novelist of some repute who is married to a poet (Kim), by whom he has a four-year-old son, Ben. His ex-wife Adele is away in the suburbs with Maurice's two teen-agers, Sadie and Willie. And then there's Maggie Cornelius--perhaps Maurice's true love, a beautiful but slightly flaky illustrator of children's books. Duberstein takes about 10 hours in 1980--from 5 p.m. December 19th to early the next morning--to put Maurice through his paces: first, a quick supper with Kim and Ben, and then it's off to the suburban house of ex-wife Adele, who makes a halfhearted attempt at seducing Maurice before filling him in on the kids (Willie is a basketball zombie and 12-year-old Sadie wants to go to the prom). Maurice Finally fights his way from the house (and from the guilt in spades) and goes through a blinding snowstorm to Maggie's, where wild love is made on beds, staircases, etc.--until Maggie finally admits that just maybe she wouldn't mind having Maurice around on a more permanent basis. And then our weary hero staggers home to sleepy, loving Kim and innocent Ben--and the novel closes with him pondering his future (this is the first book in a projected trilogy). Despite a certain Quality Lit cutesiness (""Well! Seems we were in for a spot of what we in the trade call the interior monologue""), this is, overall, a fresh, satiric, and even honest look at people falling into and out of love.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Publisher: Permanent Press