As the novel Indiscretion opens with a short prologue, an unknown narrator speaks of the concept of memories– what we remember and how we remember it, and the tendency of our memories to not always be accurate. As Charles Dubow’s debut novel progresses, we come to meet this narrator, and he acts as the memory-keeper and storyteller for a tale of love and desire, commitment and betrayal.
A weekend trip to the Hamptons to see a man she has begun dating may not be successful for young, naive Claire’s relationship, but by serendipity she is welcomed into the fold of a group of friends. At the center are Harry and Madeleine Winslow, a couple whose love is palpable from the moment anyone meets them. They exude confidence and comfort in their marriage, and others cannot help but want to be in their presence. It’s no different for Claire, and both Harry and Maddy are equally as taken by her innocence and spirit, as well.
One summer can ignite a spark that changes the course of several lives.
The story is laid out in a manner that you always feel a sense of impending… something. Will it go so far as doom? Will it be a simple one-time mistake that can be redeemed? The novel is narrated by Walter, Maddy’s oldest friend, and the perfect type of character to tell the story. Always observant, usually in the background, Walter can convey the tale of those closest to him without interjecting too much of his own opinions on the matter.
One word flashed in my head as I turned the final pages– devastating. I couldn’t put this novel down, even as I tried to hide the pages with explicit content while I read on the bus! I couldn’t for the life of me understand how some characters made the decisions that they did, and although I judged them harshly for it, I still kept reading to see if they would eventually redeem themselves to the ones who loved them. Dubow proves his literary merit with skillful storytelling peppered with imagery and foreshadowing that give the reader an inkling of what is to come, and his use of both a side-character narrator and a background of wealth and privilege make it easy for comparisons to The Great Gatsby. Reading along as this plot unfolds is somewhat akin to watching a pleasant joy ride lead to a head-on collision with a tree… in slow motion. Indiscretion will certainly leave readers breathless.
Dawn’s love affair with reading began early in life, and is still going strong more than three decades later. She indulges in her lifelong love of storytelling over at her blog, my thoughts exactly.