WHEN YOUR LOVER LEAVES. . . by Susan Trott


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. . . you behave like an idiot for 224 pages--or at least you do if you're Ronda Thompson, semi-likable narrator of this second dippy novel of mostly sex-and-jogging from the author of The Housewife and the Assassin (1979). Live-in boyfriend Joe has gone back to his wife, and widowed writer/soup-maker Ronda (this is northern California, folks) is taking it bad--spying on Joe, getting petty revenge, having a cancer scare (""My cervix was only expressing its grief at losing Joe"")--until she decides to train for a marathon. . . and meets super-handsome Ishmael. At first Ronda and Ish are just friends: women-besieged Ish, you see, ""O.D.'d on sex and was living chastely toward his imminent monk. hood."" But then, after the feeling-exchange (""I'm glad I feel. I feel hurt. I'm glad I feel!""), Ish comes through Ronda's window one night--and ""we settled into the immemorial motion until, with glossolalian cries, we completed our union."" Ronda's uneasy, however. Because of now-lusty Ish's preference for window-arrival (""naked and erect""), she wonders if maybe he's the notorious County Rapist. Then, after a confused night of break-ins, she's sure that Joe's wife Louise is the rapist. Or maybe it's a sleazy photographer who keeps bugging Ronda. In any case, she's rape-obsessed, at one point putting on her neighbor-cop's uniform to feel safer; but she almost doesn't notice when Ish does in fact rape her (""His penis that I'd caressed like a pet had become a weapon""), the sort of rape-between-friends that usually goes unreported. Ronda does finally decide to report it, however, and that's the suitably fuzzy denouement of this eager, spacey little blend of Rod McKuen-esque emoting with hang-loose sex, lib, and running. All in all--for undemanding trendies only.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's