Toby Fleishman likes being a liver doctor. He’s a good father too - he cooks and makes sure to be there for their events and activities. He’s present to them. His wife Rachel is driven: she’s made a success of her agent business and is now high profile, but this is not a 9-5 job. A couple once so right for each other has descended into anger and misunderstanding and it’s official: they’re getting divorced.
The book is narrated by Toby’s old friend Libby, who with Seth formed a triumvirate in their young days in Israel. Libby has a good marriage, great kids and a nice home in the suburbs, but she’s having a “Is this all there is?” kind of summer and she immerses herself in Toby’s story. Naturally she roots for him but as an intelligent observer she can see his faults. Toby - as is usually the way in such situations - feels more sinned against than sinning and at first we’re inclined to agree with him. Then comes Part 3, when Libby accidentally connects with a very out-of-it Rachel and our perspective shifts. The writing style has charm and insouciance and there’s a lot of amusement to be had, but the book also explores the delights and dangers of smartphone sex; wonders whether “You can have it all” second wave feminism is a giant con; skewers the shallow rich and effortlessly deconstructs the sad truth that with more understanding of each other’s perspectives and ruthless honesty about themselves, Toby and Rachel could have stayed married. The ending allows for that as a possibility. Terrific work, with some beguiling metaphors that underline the novel’s themes.
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Random House (18 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525510877
- ISBN-13: 978-0525510871
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.4 x 24.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 612 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)