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Cape May Library Binding – Large Print, 17 July 2019
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"What a treat. Glamorous and nostalgic and very sexy, Cape May is a novel about marriage, lust, shabby seaside towns and lots of gin. Brilliantly unsettling--one of those books that stays with you." - Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water
A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel south corrupted by sophisticated New England urbanites.
Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara's lover; and Alma, Max's aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.
The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.
Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.
"Deceptively relaxed and simple at first, the novel seems to be an easygoing trip down Memory Lane. It soon reveals itself as a swirling vortex of psychological suspense with insights about marriage that recall writers like Margot Livesey and Alice Munro. The 1950s setting, the pellucid prose, and the propulsive plot make this very steamy debut novel about morality and desire feel like a classic."
--Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"This remarkable debut novel offers a sobering reminder of how the possibilities of life, when first encountered, often carry their own riptide."
--Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
"This erotic debut novel will draw in readers and stay with them. The author's perceptive exploration of innocence and experience, corruption and betrayal, makes for compelling reading."
"Cheek's strong debut is a psychodrama that shows just how easily people can be manipulated. Cheek does a good job with his cast; Henry and Effie are finely drawn and their slide from innocence starkly depicted. The novel's ending is particularly startling--a memorable final note in this cogent examination of marital infidelity and betrayal."
-- Publishers Weekly
"If you can't get enough of women's fiction novels with a twist, Cape May will be your perfect book club read."
"In Cape May, Cheek shows that every couple encounters such a moment of their own--whether physical, emotional or some combination of both--and it holds the power to change a relationship forever."
"What a treat. Glamorous and nostalgic and very sexy, Cape May is a novel about marriage, lust, shabby seaside towns and lots of gin. Brilliantly unsettling--one of those books that stays with you."
--Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
"Earthy and sensual, raw and real, Cape May is an exquisitely crafted exploration of young love, the power of desire, and the lifelong ramifications of choices made in an instant. Cheek's virtuosic prose reads like a modern classic, piercing through the veneer of male sexual fantasies of the 1950s and rendering a heartbreaking portrait of a man--and a marriage--undone by betrayal."
--Whitney Scharer, author of The Age of Light
"Cape May is a perfectly mixed cocktail of beauty, desire, and heady desperation. In his gorgeous debut novel, Chip Cheek offers his readers a portrait of mid-century America and the timeless allure of love on the rocks."
--Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Corpus Christi and internationally bestselling Remember Me Like This
"Cheek's glamorous and nostalgic first novel is an atmospheric tale of sexual longing and loss in 1950s America that nods to classics like The Great Gatsby and Revolutionary Road."
About the Author
- Publisher : Thorndike Press Large Print; Large type / Large print edition (17 July 2019)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1432867229
- ISBN-13 : 978-1432867225
- Dimensions : 13.72 x 3.3 x 21.84 cm
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Top reviews from Australia
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Debut novel about a newly married young couple (Henry’s 20, Effie’s 18) from rural Georgia. She’s a town girl, he’s a farm boy but they’ve known each other since elementary school.
It’s late September 1957. H and E take an 18-hour train trip to their honeymoon at a beachside town in New Jersey. E has fond childhood memories of the house they’re staying in, which belonged to Effie’s aunt now deceased.
But she hadn’t thought it though. The season’s over, it’s getting cool, and the town’s almost deserted, many houses locked up for the winter. Oh well, they’re newlyweds and virgins so they have stuff to keep themselves occupied.
H and E quickly get the idea and she decides she wants to go home early because there’s, like, nothing else to do. All of a sudden, people appear in a big place down the street, lots of people, young people, it’s a party.
Pretty soon H and E discover cigarettes, gin, champagne, extramarital affairs, duplicity, you know the drill. A downmarket, slightly grubbier version of The Great Gatsby thirty years on follows.
The sex is not pornographic but there’s plenty of it, even more grog. H and E weather the storm and go back home together, but not as better people.
The book starts well, the depiction of 1950s mores in particular. Sadly, it goes downhill from there, albeit slowly until the final chapter: a rapid-fire precis of their subsequent life together that feels tacked on and artificial. (Hint: What you learn in Cape May doesn’t stay in Cape May.)
Top reviews from other countries
Roman chaud, brûlant ! et je ne parle pas de canicule mais de "liaisons dangereuses" in USA. Une réflexion sur le mariage, le devoir et la fidélité. Un couple de jeunes mariés passe son voyage de noces à CAP MAY, ville côtière du New-Jersey. En octobre, c'est un peu triste. Ils arrivent du fin fond de leur campagne Géorgienne, ils sont vierges - et oui cela existait en 1957 !! - plutôt religieux , et surtout ils s'ennuient ensemble. Mais c'est sans compter sur leurs voisins d'en face, riches new-yorkais excentriques, oisifs, débauchés. Le gin et le whisky coulent à flot au bord de leur piscine lors des douces soirées de ce début d'automne.
Un peu intimidé au début le jeune couple est happé par l'ambiance chaleureuse, à la fois attiré et choqué par le libertinage des invités, quelques hippies, et hommes d' affaires, tous aux moeurs très libres. Ils découvrent un univers si différent du leur, où tous les plaisirs sont permis. On y joue des jeux dangereux.
Les conversations sont superficielles , ils boivent beaucoup, écoutent du jazz . leur jeu favori est d'explorer les maisons voisines fermées hors saison. Ils semblent ne pas avoir de limites. Certes il y a un côté Fitzgerald dans l'atmosphère de luxe et de débauche. Mais les personnages ne sont pas aussi fouillés, aucun n'a de vraie passion , aucun n'est vraiment amoureux, en dehors de la jeune Alma.
L'auteur souligne le contraste entre deux mondes, entre rigueur et désordre. C'est pourquoi pour nos deux jeunes gens cette "parenthèse" ne peut être qu'éphémère. Le réveil sera douloureux!
A fascination de la classe moyenne et religieuse pour un monde plus riche et libéré thème central ne convainc pas tant il y a de lieux communs