New novel from ‘Drowning Ruth’ author

  Christina Schwarz, author of the best-selling Oprah pick “Drowning Ruth,” tackles the subject of adultery in her new novel, “So Long at the Fair.”
  The story, told over the course of one day, centers around Jon, his wife, Ginny, and his mistress, Freddi. Schwarz says she wanted to write a book about an affair where all the parties involved are sympathetic.
  Does she succeed? Mostly.
  I don’t know if it’s possible to make the husband in this case totally sympathetic. It seemed to me like he was having a midlife crisis.
  “What he pictured when he thought of his feelings for Ginny — something he lately tried to avoid doing — was a root ball, the tough strings of love tangled with those of dependence and habit. … He loved her, deeply, solidly, he had no doubt of that. He was easy with her. She ‘got’ him, got his humor, got his thinking, and he got hers. … He respected her, admired her, would have felt, if not for the constant itch and worry of Freddi, mostly happy when she was near. If he were in trouble, it was Ginny he’d call out for. … What he felt for Freddi was as pure and uncomplicated as an illicit relationship could be — he just loved her, loved to be with her, to touch her, to please her, to talk with her, to play with her, loved that she loved him. Of course, it was all on the surface; he reminded himself that there was no substance to it. But, oh, this feeling!”
  I also didn’t find the mistress that sympathetic. Why would a woman with any self-esteem want to date a married man? I guess I’m just not that good at sharing.
  “He was pulling away from her. … She told herself it should piss her off. She should be pulling away, if anyone should. Who did he think he was, leaving her hanging like this? I want to see you. I can’t see you. I want to be with you. I can’t be with you. … That was how she should feel, but instead anxiety unfurled like a tendril of smoke from the base of her stomach, up through her chest. She grabbed his hand, laced her fingers with his.”
  The author weaves a subplot from the 1960s throughout the text, tying together family histories and secrets. I found this confusing and felt like I needed a family tree to keep track of all the side characters.
  Ultimately, though, I think readers will enjoy “So Long at the Fair.” It does have some surprises, and I found the characters compelling enough to keep reading.
  Sympathetic though? … Not so much.

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