Woman Run Mad

Woman Run Mad

by John L'Heureux
     
 

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John L'Heureux is a consummate stylist and entertainer, and in A Woman Run Mad he delivers a novel that is part comedy of manners and part psychosexual thriller. Blocked writer, accidental scholar, inattentive husband, all J. J. Quinn wants is peace, and he has gone to buy his wife an expensive handbag to accomplish it. As the bag in question walks out the door

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Overview

John L'Heureux is a consummate stylist and entertainer, and in A Woman Run Mad he delivers a novel that is part comedy of manners and part psychosexual thriller. Blocked writer, accidental scholar, inattentive husband, all J. J. Quinn wants is peace, and he has gone to buy his wife an expensive handbag to accomplish it. As the bag in question walks out the door under the arm of a beautiful, aristocratic shoplifter, though, Quinn's curiosity leads him deep into mystery and danger. The shoplifter is Sarah Slade, a Boston Brahmin attempting to ditch a past as bloody as Medea's. Compared to Quinn's hypercompetent, Euripides-scholar wife, Claire, the unhinged Sarah is an alluring breath of fresh air -- but, of course, Quinn has no idea of the Pandora's box he's opened. Acclaimed by Newsweek as "witty and literate . . . Grand Guignol for grown-ups," A Woman Run Mad is an unsettling, deeply satisfying novel. "Remind[s] one of Iris Murdoch, or Muriel Spark, or E. M. Forster. Yet A Woman Run Mad is unlike any novel I know . . . unusual intelligence and personality are alive throughout the book." -- Richard P. Brickner, The New York Times Book Review; "Unless you have no interest in passions, the edge of madness, forbidden obsessions, runaway libidos and dangerous desires, A Woman Run Mad will fascinate you, from its title to its perfect final sentence. . . . A thinking man's Fatal Attraction." -- Chicago Sun-Times; "Normality -- as our time understands the word -- and monstrosity are L'Heureux's poles, and he joins them with extraordinary dexterity. . . . The ending is not to be revealed." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review; "A superior suspense story . . . It is the kind of story that might well have appealed to a writer like Patricia Highsmith, a drama of interlocking obsessions." -- The New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Less accomplished than one would expect from the publisher's advance ballyhoo, but leading up to a boffo ending, L'Heureux's (Desires) new novel titillates and titillatesand finally delivers. The major flaw is a cast of superficial, unappealing characters, each eccentric and self-involved, but bound together in a weave of coincidental meetings and relationships and further linked by an omnipresent, ugly, little boy. Feckless, self-exculpating J. J. Quinn is a bitter man: a failed novelist, he has just been denied tenure at Williams. Even more galling, his supportive, super efficient, tenured wife Claire is teaching a summer term at Dartmouth while Quinn is supposedly working on his novel in Boston. But Quinn is obsessed with Brahmin Sarah Slade, whom he spots shoplifting in Bonwit's and follows home to Louisburg Square. There he encounters her bodyguard, Angelo Tallino, a flagrant homosexual who reads existentialist authors and sleeps with Sarah's brother, president of the family firm. A decade earlier, Sarah had murdered and castrated her lover, had been found mad, and now is functionally dependent on her psychiatrist. When Claire discovers Quinn and Sarah's affair, she begins a campaign to win Quinn backand from this point the novel escalates in irony and tension. Often pretentious (quotes from Kierkegaard, snippets of Latin) the book is part thriller, part social comedy, part psychological suspense novel; and if L'Heureux has sacrificed credibility, he has come up with a surefire movie scenario. 35,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild alternate. (January )
Library Journal
This tight psychosexual thriller revolves around two women ``run mad'': controlled, precise Classics professor Claire and her husband's new object of passion, Sarah, former Boston debutante with a violent secret in her past and precarious mental health. Husband Quinn is a struggling writer, now fired from his college teaching post, and he is surprised by his obsession with Sarah, although he feels liberated by their somewhat kinky affair. The build-up of tension is steadily paced and psychologically convincing; the characters, including some memorable minor players, are well defined and sympathetic. This should do very well in contemporary fiction collections. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Radford, Va.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802137319
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
1 GROVE PR
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.74(d)

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