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The Barnes & Noble Review
On one level, Susan Minot is best known for the honest, erotic prose introduced in her 1989 collection of short fiction, Lust and Other Stories. But her writing also possesses an insight into modern male-female relations that few writers achieve with such clarity. A must-read for men and women, her short novella Rapture delivers stunningly on both fronts.
Taking place entirely during a single, specific sex act between former lovers who meet after their relationship has come to its official end, Minot alternates segments of the pair's inner dialogue as the act progresses. Utterly self-involved, the two struggle to understand their own romantic motivations and the measure of affection they once held for each other -- or perhaps still hold.
Minot contends it's our self-absorption that dooms most contemporary relationships. And she articulates these symptoms with a finesse so subtle it's easy to be seduced by her characters before catching your breath with the realization that something is going awfully wrong. ("She was impatient to have him go...because she wanted him to stay..."; "He found he didn't so much want to let her know things as he wanted her response to them.")
Let's face it, modern romance bears a greater resemblance to the Push-Me-Pull-You in Dr. Dolittle than to Yuri and Lara in Dr. Zhivago. The lovers in Rapture are quintessentially of our day, and the pair reflect this in their selfishness and narcissism. In this short work, Minot captures an image of modern love that is both an honest analysis and a brutally frank commentary. (Ann Kashickey)