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Posted March 7, 2012
The cozy, comfortable and modest little life of a happy couple, Jenny and Clifford Nelson, unravels when Clifford, a 40-something commuter airline pilot, develops heart trouble and loses his job. Something about the harrowing surgery he endures, and his newly acute awareness of mortality, turns the memory of an old girlfriend — the first girl he ever loved — into an obsession: he must find out what became of her. When he finds out, the news appalls him but does not end his craving for one more moment in her arms.
Told both from Jenny's point of view and Clifford's, "The Consequences of Longing" is about the mysteries and clouds that cloak our lives and loves. It is a masterfully written and constructed novel with a male protagonist who is reminiscent, at times, of Holden Caulfield and Rabbit Angstrom. Jenny, a woman with memories she works to hide, is the stronger figure — and yet somehow she is the most frail and vulnerable. This is an unusual midlife story with which both men and women can connect.