MAIL by Mameve Medwed


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 The postman doesn't have to ring twice in this wonderfully funny tale of love and lust between a struggling writer and the mailman who delivers her rejected manuscripts. Katinka O'Toole's life is in a slump: She's living in the same Cambridge apartment she shared with her ex-husband Seamus (a celebrated Joycean scholar she met while taking his Harvard class); she's sending out the same short stories; and she's still bickering with her class-conscious mother over the right kind of man to date. A writer's life revolves around mail, so it's no surprise that Katinka pays particular attention to the mailman, especially when he's the sexy Louie Cappetti. She no longer shuffles out in her bathrobe to collect the mail, but meets Louie dressed in fake Dior. Not surprisingly, the charming Louie is invited to the building's Christmas party, where he meets Katinka under the mistletoe. Coincidentally, her widowed mother also makes a love connection of her own, beginning to date the academically connected Professor Emeritus Haven, who lives upstairs from Katinka. With much speed, the two women are having affairs, though while the mother flouts hers as a promising success leading to marriage, Katinka hides Louie and her own apprehensions about their relationship. And there is soon more than Louie to unnerve her: She is surprisingly handed Seamus's creative writing class when his back goes out. Told in comical, mile-a-minute prose, Katinka's good fortune transforms into a series of dilemmas: How can she deal with a mother who's having sex upstairs in Arthur Haven's apartment? What is she to do with Louie now that he's enrolled in her writing class? And what about the mysterious high school sweetheart he dines with every Wednesday night? Which leaves Katinka with Jake, a previous blind date whom she now finds herself increasingly confiding in. By the end, all problems are solved, though to Medwed's credit quite unpredictably, reinforcing a droll but biting realism. Thanks in good part to Medwed's lively prose, a great, fun book.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1997
ISBN: 0-446-52088-8
Page count: 336pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997


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