I am making slow progress on my outstanding Netgalley books, but so far I managed not to request any more. This is one of my outstanding books, I’ve had it since January and finally I got around to reading it. I haven’t read any other of Nicholson’s books, so wasn’t sure what to expect.
What we get is a brief glimpse into the world of three middle class couples. The story takes place around 2015 UK election, which is mentioned several times, but I found this to be a weak point, anchoring the story too firmly in one time and place. Our couples all go through mid-life crisis, or post mid life crisis, this stage where they have made careers, raised children and start wondering is that all there is to life. It is a book about passing time, human fear of becoming irrelevant and unimportant, strains of long-lasting relationships and desire. Quite a lot of space is devoted to sex, or rather characters thinking and talking about sex. It becomes a way of validating that they are still alive, still capable of things, almost an ultimate biological confirmation. Nicholson explores the idea that sex drive in women is equally strong as men’s, but it is culturally suppressed, he does it in an interesting and subtle way, at the same time showing that accepting this fact makes dealing with adultery no easier.
The book reads well, characters are decently developed, the topics are interesting and yet it somehow failed to engage me, left this lukewarm feeling. Maybe because I read it directly after A Horse Walks into a Bar, which was an extremely emotional book, so Nichols’ every day mild drama paled in comparison and I missed the subtleties. Overall there is nothing I can pinpoint as being wrong with this book, other than I feel like I read many others like this. Actually, my previous post is a review of On Beauty by Zadie Smith, a book dealing with a similar environment, a middle class family going through a crisis, and while Adventures in Modern Marriage is a decent book, On Beauty is fantastic, packed with so much more meaning and touching on many more topics.
I received this book for free from the publisher, Quercus Books, in exchange for an honest review