It all starts with an anonymous Valentine's Day love note that Sherry Seymour, a Michigan community college English teacher and recent empty-nester, finds in her school mailbox. Mystified and flattered, Sherry lets her husband, Jon, in on the notes as they accumulate, resulting in a dramatic uptick in their sex life that advances in kinkiness after Sherry's son's friend tips off Sherry about the alleged identity of the note writer. An affair ensues, aided by Sherry's rental of an apartment near school (to avoid the commute between campus and the Seymour home in the country) and Jon's encouragement (her trysts excite him). But Sherry's life begins to spin out of control as she becomes more entangled with her possessive lover and learns who really wrote the notes. However, the tension Kasischke (The Life Before Her Eyes) cleverly builds throughout the narrative collapses at the book's climax, when Sherry and Jon are drawn into the aftermath of an accidental death. Save for the far-fetched ending, Kasischke has proven herself again to be a bold chronicler of dark obsession. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Kasichke (The Life Before Her Eyes, 2001, etc.) aims towards tragedy, using delicate, elegant prose to expose the psychological and moral rot that can lie beneath the most normal facade. She gets rights to the core...emotionally wrenching."
Twenty years after Fatal Attraction, a dead rabbit on the first page is still a red flag for a seemingly monogamous marriage. Middle-aged community college professor Sherry Seymour and her husband, Jon, are adjusting to life as empty nesters when an anonymous valentine appears in Sherry's campus mailbox. After receiving increasingly suggestive notes, Sherry begins buying new clothes and viewing each man she sees as a potential paramour. Her husband, meanwhile, becomes increasingly passionate as he fantasizes about his wife with another man. Make-believe makes way for betrayal when Sherry takes her husband's suggestions to heart and starts an affair with a colleague. Novelist and poet Kasischke (White Bird in a Blizzard) does a good job of building the domestic tension, and while an explosion is imminent, the way in which it is finally ignited comes as a surprise. Dead animals (rabbits, squirrels, a deer) litter Sherry's life, each decaying body a reminder of the passing of time and the consequences of carelessness. Recommended for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/06.]-Karen Kleckner, Deerfield P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"What makes this erotic thriller disturbing and, therefore, successful is how convincingly Kasischke renders Sherry's life and feelings so eerily normal and familiar, ensuring the unsettling portents are all but unnoticed until it is too late."
"The first two-thirds of Be Mine are the most effective, as Kasischke makes the reader feel Sherry's aging female awkwardness acutely enough to identify with her descent into wanton lust. When Sherry's stand-up husband, Jon, unveils a kinky side that goads his wife into the arms of another man, Kasischke's careful set-up makes this outrageous turn of events seem entirely plausible."
"If there is any justice in the world, Laura Kasischke will soon be as big as Alice Sebold, she of The Lovely Bones, that haunting book that burned through smart women's book clubs. Kasischke's novels are as beautifully written and as daring in their subjects."
"In the sadly poetic Be Mine, love leads to sex, mystery, betrayal, intrigue and violence, all wrapped up in the disturbing world of a middle-aged woman's deepest desires."
PRAISE FOR LAURA KASISCHKE
"We are both shocked and transported by the author’s potent and poetic storytelling."--Elle
"[Kasischke] takes on deep matters of life and death; conscience and consciousness; family, love and friendship."--Los Angeles Times