PARALLEL PLAY by Thomas Rayfiel


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A third installment in the adventures of Rayfiel’s sassy heroine (Colony Girl, 1999; Eve in the City, 2003): part anti-romantic comedy, part meditation on postpartum miseries and the joys of motherhood.

Carol Brady she ain’t. Eve thinks of her darling daughter as “this greedy sucking puking pissing shitting thing practically attached to you for the next ten years.” When the suckling seven-month-old bites mom’s nipple, our mod Medea manquée yells “bitch!” Remarkably, Rayfiel manages to make black sheep Eve likable. Married to mild-mensch doctor Harvey, Eve lusts after ex-squeeze Mark, a dreadlocked, pumped-pecs carpenter. She broods about no sex with Harvey (for an entire year) and about her weird girlhood as a member of a cult more fundie than Falwell. She also regrets ditching her gig as a seamstress stitching NYC fashion knock-offs. So Eve roams rebelliously: jaunts to Coney Island with Mark, on day leave from his own wife; or trips to bars, frantically checking the walkie-talkie baby monitor as Precious naps back home. The hideous discomfort of Snuglis, the horror of the “Accu-Preg Early Warning System”—no maternal humiliation is safe from Rayfiel’s nonstop joking. He’s also good at manic, farcical set pieces, like the overpriced anniversary dinner at which Eve accuses Harvey of having an affair with their pediatrician. What’s sly, fine and real here is the way Rayfiel finally insinuates Baby into Eve’s slow-melting heart to form a bio-bond that becomes wondrously tight.

Smart, dark, daring fare.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 2007
ISBN: 0-345-45519-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2006


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