2008: #39 – Envy (Kathryn Harrison)

17057668 Book #39 was Envy by Kathryn Harrison.  The back of the book reads:

Will has a good sex life–with the woman he married. So why then is he increasingly plagued by violent erotic fantasies that, were they to break out of his imagination and into the real world, have the power to destroy not only his family but his career? He’s about to lose his grip when he attends a college reunion and there discovers evidence of a past sexual betrayal, one serious enough that it threatens to overpower the present, even as it offers a key to Will’s dangerous obsessions.

Hypnotic, beautifully written, this mesmerizing novel by “an extremely gifted writer” (San Francisco Chronicle) explores the corrosive effect of evil–and how painful psychological truths long buried within a family can corrupt the present and, through courage and understanding, lead to healing and renewal. “Like Scheherezade in the grip of a fever dream, Kathryn Harrison . . . has written one of those rare books, in language of unparalleled beauty, that affirm the holiness of life,” said Shirley Ann Grau, about Poison. And the same can be said about Envy.

The back of the book strongly pushes the sex aspect of the story, but I think really the story is about grief. It explores different types, degrees, and methods of grieving, along with different losses — children, siblings, intimacy, innocence and purity. Will is self-analytical to an annoying degree, and there were several times when I just wanted him to shut up already. If you don’t mind that, this is a pretty good story. I do wish you got to spend some more time with Carole. She and Will don’t really come alive until the end of the story.

Page count: 301 | Approximate word count: 75,250

2007: Wish You Well (David Baldacci)
2006: The Lost German Slave Girl (John Bailey)
2005: On the Street Where You Live (Mary Higgins Clark)

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