Lucky Man, Lucky Woman: A Love Story

Lucky Man, Lucky Woman: A Love Story

by Jack Driscoll

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"As precisely orchestrated as a symphony . . . the most honest story that can be told, the most generous, and always straight to the heart."—Pam Houston
Winner of Pushcart's Seventeenth Annual Editors' Book Award, this first novel about a marriage in crisis has evoked extraordinary praise from readers Pam Houston and Rick Bass. In presenting Lucky Man,


"As precisely orchestrated as a symphony . . . the most honest story that can be told, the most generous, and always straight to the heart."—Pam Houston
Winner of Pushcart's Seventeenth Annual Editors' Book Award, this first novel about a marriage in crisis has evoked extraordinary praise from readers Pam Houston and Rick Bass. In presenting Lucky Man, Lucky Woman with the Editors' Book Award, publisher Bill Henderson's citation included the following remarks: "I was literally stunned by this first novel-amazed that one writer could evoke such sweetness and compassion about a middle-aged marriage and in such wonderful detail." The New York Times praised Jack Driscoll's short story collection, Wanting Only to Be Heard, for its extraordinary depiction of "the psychic terrors that dwell on the fringes of human endeavor." In Lucky Man, Lucky Woman the author investigates those terrors much closer to home. Crowding forty, Perry Lafond knows he's had a decent life with his wife, Marcia, but he's just not sure if he wants to live that life anymore. His wife, battling infertility, is obsessed on the idea of having a baby. And Perry wants a child too, maybe. Suddenly, he can't keep his mind off other women, including the young, sad, and beleaguered wife of the parolee who Perry monitors in his job as a probation officer. Always unflinchingly honest, Lucky Man, Lucky Woman tracks a man's headlong-and just possibly redemptive-leap into chaos.

Editorial Reviews

Laura Green
Surrounded by blood, mayhem and death, the Lafonds still manage to turn Tolstoy's observation on its head: here, it's the unhappy marriage that's all too familiar.
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's barely summer in the seaside community of Mystic, Conn., and Perry Lafond, the restive, 38-year-old hero of Driscoll's searing first novel--recipient of the 17th annual Pushcart Press Editor's Book Award--is facing "the worst funk of his life." Chafing at the confines of both his childless 15-year marriage to Marcia, who's now enduring a grueling regimen of fertility injections, and his job as a probation officer, for which he long ago gave up a career as a teacher, Perry has begun flirting with a second adolescence. He's taking his Harley on late-night rides, rereading Nieztche and testing the affections of two actual mothers--Marcia's twin sister, Pauline, who's navigating her own divorce, and Angela, the wife of Roland, an irascible trailer-park parolee. Still haunted by nightmares of his sister, who drowned at age five on the grounds of his parent's cherry orchard, Perry is thrown into an emotional free fall after causing a jet ski accident involving his young nephew, and by news that his mother has had a second stroke, prompting a grim visit to his family estate in Northern Michigan where little has changed since his sister's death. Driscoll writes with an elegiacal kitchen-sink realism so suffused with detail that every nuance of the recriminating conversations, fraught silences and introspective fugues of Perry and Marcia is spun out at ponderous length. Yet there's also a cinematic fluidity to certain scenes, as when Perry returns from Michigan to a fiery showdown with Roland and a trial separation from Marcia, which leads to a stint of lobster fishing with his friend, Wayne, an itinerant Vietnam vet--and the first signs of catharsis. The story will resonate with readers, however, for what finally emerges, from both the high drama of reckless accidents and the slow burn of Perry's midlife depression, is a powerful portrait of a marriage holding its own against the weight of difficult past and a still more difficult present. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This accomplished and thoroughly engaging first novel recently received the 17th Annual Pushcart Press Editors' Book Award. Perry Lafond, the protagonist, is an almost-40-year-old probation officer whose work and personal life have become problematic. His daily responsibilities on the job have left him weary and dispirited, and a sense of loneliness has crept into his marriage, even though his wife, Marcia, is kind, loving, and beautiful. During the course of the novel, which is essentially about this marriage, Lafond makes all manner of mistakes and misjudgments. Most significantly, he becomes involved with the wife of one of his parolees. Lafond is a lucky man, however, and with great skill and intelligence, Driscoll traces his journey out of his treacherous personal crisis to a sweet and dramatic reconciliation with Marcia. Driscoll writes poignantly about doubt, hope, and forgiveness. Recommended for both public and academic libraries.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community-Technical Coll., Canterbury, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Marriage under siege is the somewhat one-sided theme of poet and short-fiction writer Driscoll's poignant first novel, winning him Pushcart's Editors' Book Award. Perry and his wife Marcia have been trying for years to have a child, and now panicþs setting in as they approach 40. But the more Marcia frets, the more ambivalent Perry feels. When in the course of his job as a Mystic, Connecticut, parole officer he meets Angela, wife of smart but impulsive check-forger Roland, he has trouble keeping his hands to himself. Angela is just pregnant with child number two; she and Roland are struggling to make ends meet for the sake of their firstborn, who's not even a year old. Even so, she's drawn to Perry, who seems to represent everything her husband doesnþt. Unlike Perry, however, Angela knows where to draw the line between fantasy and reality, leaving him remorseful enough about his desires to find Roland a job and a chance to get two feet back under him. Marcia senses her spouse slipping away, especially when he takes their nephew out on the Jetski in rough weather, nearly drowns himself, then almost bleeds to death from a cut incurred while breaking into their apartment. So she moves out to let him think things overþwhile Roland, already tense about his growing family, does the wrong thing in a job-site confrontation and decides to skip town. Once again, Perryþs involved, trusted by both Angela and Roland, but his assistance brings them only tragedy, while also opening a serious rift between him and Marcia. Visceral stuff, with richly detailed scenes of life on both sides of the tracks. The husbands, though, achieve significantly more substance than their wives,and some of the plotting, especially involving Perry's family back in Michigan, seems digressive.

Product Details

Pushcart Press, The
Publication date:
Editor's Book Award Ser.
Edition description:
(Editors' Book Award Series)
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Jack Driscoll is the author of Waiting Only to Be Heard, winner of the PEN/Nelson Algren Short Fiction Award, and is also a poet. He lives in northern Michigan with his wife and teaches at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

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