Featherweight third title in Svenson’s “Budge Moss” series (after Wrongful Reconciliation, 2005) tracks the self-absorbed aging writer as he contemplates—again—cheating on his older girlfriend.
From moving to Rock Hall, Md., to lick his wounds after a divorce (Washed Up with a Broken Heart in Rock Hall, 2004), to finding hospitality with Matty, a well-off, near-80 Republican golfer, 60-ish Budge Moss isn’t doing badly for a writer whose work has been relegated to the remainders heap. But in diary entries that intrude on the novel, Moss asserts his restlessness. Although feeling like a pig in clover living in Matty’s gated-community pad, with larder stocked and Matty’s nightly cooking to grow fat on, Moss can’t get over the age discrepancy between him and his lover, and that she golfs all the time, leaving him alone. And his writing has “devolved into this dull quotidian, when all I do is shuffle words . . . falling prey to remorse about unattainable desires.” On a whim, Moss drives to Canada with his cat, Ragu, and tries to get a job at a university in Kingston, passing himself off as John Updike. Later, a local university requests his participation in a writing conference on “The Relevance of Writers Whose Books Are Out of Print.” At the conference, Moss meets and flirts with a plumpish feminist author from Canada, Kara Umber, who invites Moss and Matty to her family cottage. They go for a weekend, and Moss finds himself skinny-dipping at night in Elderberry Lake, aroused by the “rubbery erotic volume” of Kara’s buoyant breasts. Moss shows himself to be a cad, with too much time on his hands and few interests.
Limp, see-through adventures of an age-obsessed, out-of-shape mope who needs to get a life.