Saturday, March 27, 2010

New World Monkeys by Nancy Mauro

A young couple’s marriage as well as their minds (and maybe their morality) start to disintegrate when they spend the summer in the country outside of New York City.

The writing is striking, using an extensive palette of words. The arc of the story peters out in the middle of the book, and I started not to give a shit but kept reading, maybe just to read the thought provoking paragraphs. Once the summer starts, both husband and wife take separate paths to transgression – the wife touring with a creepy Peeping Tom, the husband devising a shocking idea to sell jeans. Together they excavate a skelton in the garden. They’re obsessed with it, and I wasn’t sure why. I think I grew distinterested because the story migrated from the heart and lower to strictly the head. Distancing. For example, a climatic scene is when the friendly lecher actually rips the panties from an unwilling teenager. This doesn't resonate the way you would expect - the reader is sort of put in the position of cheering him on. The ending does not fit – the husband and wife drifting down the river? Not really motivated. This comes after the realization that they’ve both been wasting their time. Perhaps it’s really about the feminization of the American male? That might be where the energy of the book lies.

1 comment:

  1. interesting review! I definitely agree with your assessment - "extensive palette of words" - I could have used the dictionary at my side as I read!