Following his debut, Indiscretion, Dubow writes an evocative and maddening tale of obsession. When young Wylie Rose sees Cesca Bonet for the first time, his life is placed on a path of compulsion, desire, and what he believes to be love. Once drawn into Cesca’s orbit as adults, she becomes Wylie’s drug of choice. His infatuation gives Cesca the power to walk in and out of his life, screwing up his relationships and plans whenever she chooses to spend time with him. Told through the lavish eye of Wylie, a budding artist interloping in an old-money world pulsating with the tantalizing power of family status and beauty, the novel spans decades and continents—including East Hamptons glamour in the 1960s and New York City at the rise of the AIDS epidemic. Though beautifully descriptive, the narration feels inconsistent: some choices in description and action seem out of character for the narrator. Wylie’s obsession is impassioned but at times frustrating, and questions about whether a person can change, or if we are all doomed to repeat the same mistakes time and time again, will be swirling through readers’ minds. (May)
A passionate relationship still sears these pages. ... If you are a romantic, you will devour every page of this book.
From Paris to Barcelona to New York, Girl in the Moonlight takes the reader on a whirlwind journey. ... A passionate story that explores the capacity of loveand its unyielding ability to control us.
Seduces readers with a tantalizing, salacious tale. ... Almost every page here is watermarked with love, lust, wealth, creativity, betrayal or heartbreak.
Inspired. ... [Dubow] evokes a mystical atmosphere around Cesca’s mesmerizing power. ... Wylie and Cesca see tempestuous years pass in struggling to define the magnetism they feel for one another, and readers will be spellbound by the process.
An enchanting tale dabblin in love, obsession, relationships, and beauty. ... The perfect book to devour beachside.
A sleek, brisk Gatsby-esque tale. ... Keeps you reading like sipping a perfectly-fashioned martini. Compulsive reading. ... What an elegant and ebullient journey.
This page-turner about a man’s no-holds-barred obsession with a mysterious, seductive woman doesn’t disappoint, and that’s thanks in no small part to Charles Dubow’s beautifully constructed prose.
Girl in the Moonlight is an infinitely nuanced novel that is unpredictable in the best possible way.
Compelling. ... From the very first page his sometimes spare, Hemingway-like prose invites the reader to settle in for an engaging tale.
Wylie Rose is a young man who falls hard for a sophisticated and charming beauty, Cesca Bonet, whose narcissism and solipsistic nature make her impervious to the feelings of others. Time and again he runs to Cesca whenever she calls, despite knowing that she is seeing someone else, or is engaged, or about to disappear for years. Wylie is so captivated by Cesca that he ruins chances for loving relationships with women more willing and worthy. Can this cycle be broken? Will lessons be learned? What does loving someone really require? Answers to these questions come near the end of the story and are worth the wait. As in Dubow's first novel, Indiscretion, his characters hail from the moneyed classes. Raised as trust-fund babies, Wylie and Cesca attend the top schools, summer in the Hamptons, and enjoy European tours. Consequently the novel offers a first-rate education in the best of Western art, travel, clothes, and cuisine. VERDICT This is a page-turner for avid readers of romantic novels who enjoy learning how the rich live and whether they can rise above their first-world struggles. [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/14.]—Sheila M. Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC
In Dubow's second novel (Indiscretion, 2013)—pleasingly reminiscent of Maugham and Fitzgerald—our hero narrates a lifetime spent adoring one impossibly beautiful, out-of-reach woman. Wylie Rose's obsession with Cesca Bonet begins at 9, the day he breaks his arm trying to impress her on her family's East Hampton estate. The novel, set in the last half of the 20th century, spans decades of their lives as they pursue their dreams (in the glamorous way only the very rich can) and slip in and out of love affairs, always returning to each other. Cesca is one of four children born to a New York heiress and a Spanish artist; Wylie's father warns him of the family: "They're beautiful, talented, rich. It's all very seductive. But they're like spoiled children. They'll take everything and give nothing in return." But it's too late—young Wylie is in their thrall. He befriends Cesca's brother Aurelio, who even as a teenager is a talented painter and who nurtures Wylie's dreams of painting and introduces him to the last of the area's fabled abstract expressionists. Out of boredom, Cesca takes Wylie as a lover and casts a spell over him; no other woman can ever compare to her wild, slightly tragic allure. She moves to London, has affairs with rich young men who want to marry her, leaves them, has brief trysts with Wylie, and then moves on, breaking his heart, over and over again. Meanwhile, Wylie becomes an architect, moves to Paris, dates the daughter of a count (weekends at the chateau are lovely) until Cesca calls for him. The novel is a whirlwhind of impossibly chic settings and experiences; the characters know all the right people and do all the right things—Cesca is at Max's Kansas City with Iggy Pop, Aurelio's mentor was friends with Pollock—though to some extent the novel's heavy reliance on character development through association is a weakness. Nevertheless, Dubow offers a heady, intoxicating tale, and young Wylie's journey to manhood is a memorable one. A story of the most interesting people you will ever know, told with style and verve.