Sunday, September 9, 2012

Clemmie (1958)

Another of John D. MacDonald's infidelity novels, and like the other two, Cancel All Our Vows and The Deceivers, this one is excellent. 

The book's milieu is classic Updike/Cheever country. A happily married suburban businessman is left alone for the summer, his English wife bringing their children back to the home country to meet relatives. He meets a young Bohemian girl who lives in a loft in the city (and off of a trust fund). There's lots of drinking and lots of sex and things turn sour a la Fatal Attraction. It's a long book but doesn't feel it. JDM manages to turn this crime-free tale into a tale of high suspense. It's dated, of course, in its free-wheeling attitudes toward extra-marital activity, and it's almost comical the number of times the main character gets behind the wheel completely sloshed, but, ultimately, it's a heartfelt well-written novel without gimmickry.

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