LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS by Ayelet Waldman

Waldman I've always wanted to read something by Ayelet Waldman. I've known of her for a while – the author who famously said that she loves her husband more than her children – and she has a new book out that I want to read (Red Hook Road). But I opted to read Love and Other Impossible Pursuits first - I picked it up at a used book sale earlier this year and it was the right book at the right time after I finished the last one.

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is about Emilia, a thirty-something former lawyer married to Jack, a divorced man with a young son, William. Emilia has a fraught relationship with William and his nightmare oof an ex-wife, and when the book opens, she is grieving over the loss of her newborn daughter, Isabel. The book is about the year after Isabel's death, as she comes to terms with her role as William's stepmother and works through her grief and depression.

Emilia can be a pretty unlikable character at times. As a reader, I sort of wanted to shake her, and put a mirror to her actions so that she could see, objectively, what she was doing. I don't need likable characters, but I do need believable characters, and there were times when Emilia's selfishness was over the top. She cowered next to Jack's ex-wife, yet she continued to act in ways that invited criticism and fury from her and others. At the same time, she took others for granted and pushed and took from them without, it seemed, giving much back.

But…

I have to say that I love Waldman's writing. It's full of detail and analysis and wry humor and sharp observations about modern day New York living. She's entertaining and smart, and I read the book eagerly despite Emilia's shortcomings as a protagonist. I enjoyed Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. I am curious to read her new one, because I suspect she has probably gotten better as a novelist, and I'm intrigued.

Also, if you enjoy Central Park, it has a supporting role here too. I loved that part!

Anyone else read this one?

4 Comments

  • August 23, 2010 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve never read any of the author’s work, but I will be soon because Red Hook Road is my book club’s pick for September.

  • August 23, 2010 - 4:18 pm | Permalink

    This book really sounds yummy…

  • September 2, 2010 - 11:12 am | Permalink

    This is probably one of my favorite books ever. I just finished Red Hook Road and I liked this much more.

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