MARITAL AFFAIRS by Sharleen Cooper Cohen


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Set in Los Angeles, this saga of contemporary marital mores and miseries by the author of The Ladies of Beverly Hills (1983) puts its cast of outwardly affluent and ""with it"" characters through the paces of just about every distress and disaster imaginable, from guilty and bitter parent/child relationships through wife beating and adultery to chemotherapy and cancer surgery. Bright, talented and voraciously ambitious, Jason Greene has allowed himself to become increasingly estranged from his wife Lisa, who had earlier sacrificed her own career as an actress to support him in his early days as an investment broker and then to raise his children. Jason's fear of intimacy stems from his troubled relationship with an overbearing and obnoxious father, Mitch, who has, in addition to relentlessly emasculating Jason, been maintaining a longtime illicit love affair with his own sister-in-law, widow of his dead brother. Unbeknownst to anyone, Mitch is the father of her boy Howard--just one example of Mitch's garden-variety betrayal and perfidy. For his part, Howie is obsessed with his doll-like wife, whom he almost beats to death when she inadvertently winds up appearing in a softcore porn show on cable TV. When Jason turns up with colon cancer, his wife Lisa's own bloody-minded and hostile mother is worse than no help at all and her sister Lorraine, always jealous of Lisa anyway, tries to seduce Jason while he is recuperating from surgery. Then, thanks to his corrupt and treacherous partner--whose wife, meanwhile, is off finding true love with a younger man--Jason's firm goes bankrupt, and he and Lisa are forced to sell their house. But she's working again now, on her way to becoming the actress she was always meant to be, and money is a hollow substitute for really being in touch with yourself anyway, right? At last, Jason's brush with death forces him to get his priorities in order. His cancer goes into remission, and he and Lisa, armed with new-found psychic integrity, live happily, presumably, ever after. The only notes struck throughout this entire novel are those of stridency and hysteria, accompanied by the sounds of the clich‚-ridden psychobabble that substitutes for dialogue. Overall: a group of people utterly unappealing, their affairs cliched beyond the pale.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1985
ISBN: 0743212843
Publisher: Macmillan