A light, entertaining novel that’s part love story, part travelogue.
When perennial playboy David Summers meets journalist Catherine Klein, their attraction is immediate and powerful. The two soon start meeting in cities all over the world for clandestine rendezvous, with David never suspecting that Catherine harbors a secret. It’s one that’s more suburban than steamy: She’s married to a stay-at-home father who tends to their young son, Billy. Catherine promises herself that she’ll either end the affair or tell David the truth, but she finds herself dangerously hooked on the relationship’s animal eroticism—until an explosive confrontation forces her hand. The story gets off to a somewhat slow start, describing glamorous locales in Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Los Angeles in excruciating detail while all but neglecting character development. Scene after scene features impossibly beautiful people in impossibly expensive clothing enjoying themselves in impossibly exclusive bars and hotels, establishing the work as pure escapist fantasy. However, as Catherine and David’s relationship intensifies, the story gains a bit more depth, although Catherine herself remains disappointingly underdeveloped. The story could have depicted her as complex and conflicted, but readers are told early on that she finds life with her husband stultifying and that she yearned to be away from her son even shortly after his birth, and as a result, the affair comes off as somewhat trite. Still, the erotic interplay between Catherine and David is satisfyingly sizzling, and some of their later trips are simply glorious—particularly a South African jaunt. The book provides some elegantly spare insights (“I sometimes worry that we are a relationship of vacations, of interconnected summer romances”) but also some overblown prose (“In the night sky, a cry erupts that ricochets from the far reaches of the horizon like a high-pitched whale [sic] released from her soul that aches in its tone before coming to a desperate guttural surge she repeats into the night sky as she comes into view”). Unfortunately, when this “relationship of vacations” gets to a point where it either must become something more or dissolve altogether, the lackluster conclusion lacks emotional resonance.
An often enjoyable but ultimately forgettable romance.