An Australian woman traveling in India tells a new friend the story of her seven-year sexual obsession with an older man living across the world in Los Angeles.
Catherine, a former ad writer on her way to a meditation retreat, meets Ruby in Sri Lanka during local political upheaval. Pleased to discover they both like quoting poetry, the two women begin traveling together through southern India. On the way Ruby shaves her head under the influence of drugs while Catherine tells the saga of her affair with Michael during the 1990s. Born on the day JFK was assassinated, Catherine pins her life story to accompanying historic events. She met Michael in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots and watched her first episode of Seinfeld with him. Twenty years her senior, he had dazzling blue eyes like Peter O’Toole, and after a bit of graphic sex, Catherine was hooked. She then returned to Australia, and the next seven years were punctuated by occasional torrid reunions (he came to Australia for Christmas; she found business excuses to visit L.A.) and hot e-mails. Friends and mutual acquaintances warned her that Michael was seeing other women, and since they met at most every six months, sometimes not for years, it made sense that he had a life. But Catherine could not move on, even when the seemingly right man came along. She finally ended the affair after undergoing surgery to remove growths in her uterus. Catherine tells Ruby this story as they continue their travelogue-like journey. When Ruby acknowledges she’s a lesbian, her traveling companion is briefly taken aback, but since Melbourne-based author Cunningham uses all her male characters, including Michael, as mere props or background noise, readers will not find it too hard to guess where Catherine finds true love.
A bodice-ripper debut with a lesbian twist, too self-conscious to be erotic.