THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION by Stephen McCauley

THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Gay George and straight Nina play house in Brooklyn, in a timid first novel that cannot decide where it's headed. These are not exactly kids. Boston Irish George Mullen (the first-person narrator) is 26 and has had at least two lovers, while Polish Nina Borowski is pushing 30, and eloped with her first boyfriend when she was 17; yet both protagonists live in adolescent confusion about love. ""Isn't there such a thing as not knowing?"" replies Nina, when asked if she loves her boyfriend Howard. ""Isn't it possible not to know?"" muses George about his boyfriend Paul. The pair meet at a party. Nina needs a roommate; George learns through her that his current lover Joley is throwing him out. He checks out her apartment, they exchange backgrounds (George teaches kindergarten, Nina's a psychologist counseling rape victims), and voilá! Soon they are taking ballroom dancing lessons and enjoying an ""unconsummated courtship,"" which continues undisturbed by Nina's discovery that she is pregnant by Howard. Nina will not marry the possessive Howard; instead she asks George, in a too-cute moment on the Coney Island Octopus, to help raise the baby, and it seems we're in for an ""alternative life-style"" story in which a gay man discovers the joys of parenting. But no--the author sends George on a trip to Vermont, where he meets Paul, a gay man who, through his adopted Salvadoran son, has discovered the joys of parenting. After much hesitation (""I'm unable to sustain an emotion for more than five minutes""), George moves in with Paul, while Paul's mother Molly, much too neatly, moves in with Nina and her baby girl. McCauley has attempted a novel about relationships, though unwilling to probe his protagonists' motivations, or to move either one towards an epiphany; the result is mere wheel-spinning.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1987
ISBN: 0671743503
Publisher: Simon & Schuster