Attachment

Attachment

1.5 7
by Isabel Fonseca
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"Jean Hubbard is a syndicated health columnist, her British husband, Mark, a successful advertising executive, and after more than twenty years together they revel in a sabbatical on a remote tropical island. But when Jean discovers a salacious love letter addressed to Mark, she realizes that she has misdiagnosed some acute pathologies in her own life. The long idyll… See more details below

Overview

"Jean Hubbard is a syndicated health columnist, her British husband, Mark, a successful advertising executive, and after more than twenty years together they revel in a sabbatical on a remote tropical island. But when Jean discovers a salacious love letter addressed to Mark, she realizes that she has misdiagnosed some acute pathologies in her own life. The long idyll of their mutual ease is over - but a more vivid and compelling quest has just begun. Looking for answers, Jean goes undercover with a surreptitious e-mail correspondence that propels her on to alarming, and illuminating, adventures of her own in her adopted home of London and her native New York." Attachment is unflinching in its depiction of desire, of the responsibility that comes with age and family, and of the impulses that color and disrupt our lives even as they reveal, ever more clearly, the nature of love.

Editorial Reviews

Helen Schulman
Attachment is a confident, smart first novel about cultivated people with cool jobs and multiple homes, with a story that seems personal and deeply felt…Fonseca tells her story with such specificity and acuteness, and in such nicely rendered climes, that Jean's stumbles seem like news bulletins…Fonseca's cast is a bumbling crew of affectionate and selfish pleasure seekers, full of battered egos and insatiable needs—we may not always admire them, but they sure are interesting to watch.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

In a compelling fiction debut, Fonseca takes syndicated health columnist Jean Hubbard, an Oxford-trained lawyer, through a dramatic demonstration of the limits of attachment. Jean is filing her columns from the remote Indian Ocean island of St. Jacques, where her advertising-genius husband, Mark, has moved them. Their time there is disrupted when Jean intercepts a salacious letter from Mark's London office, which leads her in turn to an e-mail signed by a lubricious "Giovana" (Jean immediately notices the odd single n ). The e-mail features explicit attachments, and without reflecting on the consequences, Jean, writing as Mark, begins an e-mail correspondence with Giovana. Ensuing events occur in a beautifully orchestrated dramatic arc, drawing in Mark's unscrupulous business partner; Jean's stricken father in New York; Mark's first love's daughter; Jean's former beau; and the secret that pushes the 23-year marriage further toward the precipice. Fonseca's nonfiction Bury Me Standing drew a vivid portrait of the international Gypsy community, and she shifts locales and emotional registers with evocative ease here, delving deeply into her ensemble's motivations. She's as unsparing of their flaws as she is frank about their desires. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The nature of attachment-or, more accurately, detachment from self, spouse, career, and family-forms the skeleton of this meditative first novel from Fonseca (Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey). Meandering and thoughtful, the book is divided into three sections and moves among a lush tropical island, London, and a bustling Manhattan gripped by post-9/11 edginess. The tale revolves around Jean and Mark Hubbard, a long-married couple on sabbatical in picturesque St. Jacques. When Jean inadvertently intercepts an email meant for her husband, the contents send her reeling. Is he having an affair? How long has it been going on? And why? As Jean begins sleuthing, she undertakes numerous deceptions that force her to access how she feels about commitment, monogamy, and revenge. Along the way, issues of female aging come to the fore, even as the need to care for elderly parents smacks head-on into letting go of a college-aged child bursting for independence. Intense and realistic, full of sexual imagery and churning emotion, this work is highly recommended for all fiction collections.
—Eleanor J. Bader

Kirkus Reviews
A busy first novel from Fonseca (Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, 1995) depicts a wife grappling with infidelity (her husband's and her own), mortality and responsibility. Although it moves from St. Jacques (a tiny island in the Indian Ocean) to London, then to New York and back to St. Jacques, the book essentially charts domestic territory as it follows American-born Jean Hubbard's quest for wisdom in her marriage and life choices. Despite a dazzling law degree, Jean set her career aside to marry young. Her British husband Mark now runs a flourishing ad agency, daughter Victoria is at university and Jean writes about health for women's magazines. But during a sabbatical on the island of St. Jacques, Jean's sense of certainty begins to waver after she discovers e-mails (and photo attachments) from Giovana, apparently Mark's lewd young lover, and also confronts the possibility of breast cancer. Keeping both developments a secret, Jean returns to London and-even more inexplicably-spends a night of amazing sex with Mark's office deputy. Then it's on to Manhattan where her father's recuperation from heart surgery has turned critical. Fonseca relies on Jean's internal musings as her narrative vehicle, but this method doesn't successfully unite the heroine's intellect with her actions. Oddly, Jean's passivity pays off when a tumbling sequence of revelations brings on a redefinition of both past and future. A witty, intelligent but uneven debut, weakened by its occasionally exasperating heroine and a conclusion that boils down to less than expected. Agent: Andrew Wylie/The Wylie Agency
From the Publisher
“A gracefully written novel about aging, parents and children, and the mystery that even married partners can be to each other.” —The New York Times“Fonseca possesses a wonderful eye and vocabulary for the observable world [and] a natural gift for portraiture… She also regularly notices things men might wish women didn't notice, though in other quarters might wish they did. All, though, is perfectly suited to her complex subject - one worth taking seriously: the difficulty of loving someone you already love, and its corollary, the stony impenetrability of others.” —Richard Ford“Fonseca's vivisection of matrimony and desire is cruelly exacting.” —The New Yorker“Fearless. . . . Fonseca shows off a vicious humor and an unsparing prose style in this ink-dark foray into marriage's murkier precincts.” —Vogue"[Attachment is a] savvy, sometimes hilarious, sometimes tender voyage into one woman's midlife crisis [with] a surprisingly refreshing denouement...It's a great read."—Sally Valongo, The Toledo Blade"Just thinking of this novel, I smile. Attachment was so gratifyingly readable. It is plot-rich, which most literary novels are not: an airport novel with an agreeably sophisticated air. This is Isabel Fonseca’s first novel, and she seems born to the fictional trade...When it comes to deciphering our new world and its emotional intricacies, Fonseca is spot on." —Fay Weldon, Financial Times"Fonseca charts Jean's emotional temperature and her thought processes with brisk lucidity. And she excels at the art of description—of car rides through the streets of London and around a poor but lushly flowering island; of shaving a bed-ridden parent; of examining one's husband with a loving but honest eye." —Misha Berson, The Seattle Times“An astute observer of human behavior, both real and imagined, [and] a literary heavyweight…Fonseca ultimately transforms the familiar into the foreign, forcing both her characters and her readers to examine their unquestioned perceptions about who they and their loved ones really are.” —Chelsea Bauch, Time Out New York"Not only smart but smart in a pleasing and all-too-uncommon way: It's insightful about grown-ups in the throes of grown-up emotions...Fonseca is commendably clearheaded and unsentimental about the nature of attachment, particularly in long-standing relationships." —Adelle Waldman, New York Sun“A confident, smart first novel [with] a story that seems personal and deeply felt...Fonseca is especially adept at making middle age look shockingly similar to adolescence [in] all its corporeal and sexual insecurities.” —Helen Schulman, The New York Times Book Review“Fonseca's exploration of middle-aged displacement, both mental and physical, is intelligent, nuanced and immensely satisfying...as fruity and delicious as the cocktails served on the fictional tropical island where it's primarily set.” —Alexandra Jacobs, New York Observer“An acerbic, funny, and maddening coming-of-wisdom novel…Fonseca’s frank takes on sexuality, sexism, age, and how fear undermines love are canny and tonic.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist, starred review“Meandering and thoughtful…Intense and realistic, full of sexual imagery and churning emotion.” —Library Journal“A compelling fiction debut…Fonseca’s nonfiction Bury Me Standing drew a vivid portrait of the international Gypsy community, and she shifts locales and emotional registers with evocative ease here, delving deeply into her ensemble’s motivations. She’s as unsparing of their flaws as she is frank about their desires…A dramatic demonstration of the limits of attachment.” —Publishers Weekly

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780099513384
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/2009

Meet the Author

In addition to her best-selling Bury Me Standing, Isabel Fonseca has written for a wide range of publications, including The Independent, Vogue, The Nation, and TheWall Street Journal. Born in New York, she was educated at Columbia and Oxford and lives in London with her husband, Martin Amis, and their two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >