The New York Times
Morality Taleby Sylvia Brownrigg, Monica Scott (Illustrator)
When this novel's unnamed narrator meets the elusive but exciting Richard (an envelope salesman with a nice layman's line in Zen philosophies), he offers her a friendly escape from her dreary domestic life. Burdened by her husband's ongoing negotiations with his angry ex-wife, the strains of looking after two stepchildren, and the lingering ghost of her own past
When this novel's unnamed narrator meets the elusive but exciting Richard (an envelope salesman with a nice layman's line in Zen philosophies), he offers her a friendly escape from her dreary domestic life. Burdened by her husband's ongoing negotiations with his angry ex-wife, the strains of looking after two stepchildren, and the lingering ghost of her own past betrayals, she finds that the life of a “second marryer” leaves much to be desired. As their friendship develops, so grows the shadow cast over her marriage, and when they make a late, illicit bay crossing on a ferryboat, the story gathers momentum under California's Mount Tamalpais. There, in the fabled Golden State, Sylvia Brownrigg shows how even a layman's Zen can lead to some important revelations about the need to look forward, not back. Bristling with honesty and wit, Morality Tale explores the triangular complications that can befall a modern marriage and the tragicomic forces that surround them.
The New York Times
Pan, the curiously nicknamed narrator of Brownrigg's (The Delivery Room) trim latest, has come to realize the truth in the old saying, "What goes around comes around." It's been five years since her husband, Alan, left his wife for her, and she's disenchanted that their married lovemaking isn't as passionate as their adulterous action was. Plus, Alan barely helps around the house, Pan's not exactly enamored of her stepsons, and Alan is still hopelessly entangled with his combative ex, Theresa. So when Richard, a kindhearted envelope salesman, walks into the stationery store where Pan clerks, a harmless one-sided romance blooms in the form of letters Richard leaves for her. Of course, when Alan finds Richard's letters, he's less than understanding. The early charms of this novel, including an absorbing rendering of a suffocating and dreary marriage, soon wear thin: Pan becomes increasingly precious as an episode from her past is clumsily offered as an explanation for her disaffection, and her obtuseness about her meanness toward Theresa is frustrating. The setup is there, but the follow-through doesn't deliver. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Counterpoint Press
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