Jonathan is a mere human. He stumbles into the emotional comfort of his wife's sister, Joan, in the fallout, many years after an "emotional affair" with his co-worker, Simone. Claire, Jonathan's wife, has her own secrets. Her controlling ways push Jonathan away, while she pulls him back to keep their relationship together. His marital bounds are tested when Simone returns, eight years later, to be a friend, and to see if their relationship would have worked. Humorous and dark, sad and complex, Malaise wanders through the life of Jonathan and his women, as he searches for love and peace in his emotionally barren world. ForeWord Clarion Book Review
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
E. J. Eisman’s book, Malaise, is a glimpse into the life of Jonathan McVoy, a married man who seems to be as emotionally barren as the field he views from his nearby apartment. He goes through the motions of everyday life, but he longs to feel something, anything, again. His marriage to the verbally and emotionally abusive Claire is more of a prison than a marriage. Desperate to find passion again, Jonathan begins an emotional affair with a co-worker, Simone. When Simone leaves town, he turns to Claire’s sister, Joan, for comfort. Joan’s supportive nature helps to ease the sting of Claire’s dictatorial personality, but Jonathan is still unfulfilled. He meets Wendy at a local coffee shop, and they strike up a flirty sort of friendship. Despite the attention of the three women in his life, Jonathan can’t seem to fill the emotional void that plagues him. Just when you think Jonathan is about to make a decision between the three women in his life, Simone returns. I wanted to dislike Jonathan for the way he moved from woman to woman in his struggle to find an emotional connection to the world; but I found his emotional struggle understandable and, at times, endearing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Malaise. It is definitely worth the read!
Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite Jonathan tries to find his way in life through a fog of women, whiskey, and bi-polar medication. His marriage to the cold and manipulative Claire seems doomed to fail. She seems to be an unhealthy mother figure who gives Jonathan security and disapproval at the same time. Malaise by E.J. Eisman is a sad tale peppered with some hope for the future. Jonathan has an emotional affair with his co-worker Simone, but for a long time they don't sleep together. When Simone pulls away, Jonathan comforts himself with a bottle of Jack Daniels. Claire's sister Joan understands the best part of Jonathan's personality and she reaches out to him through email. Eventually his friendship with Joan turns into a sexual affair. Then Wendy enters Jonathan's world as his divorce from Claire is pending. Jonathan's world alternates between emotional detachment and crushing vulnerability. As you get to know this character he is sympathetic but pitiable. He eventually shortens his name to Jack to signal a new time in his life where he can take command. Jonathan's identity and emotional life is defined by his romantic relationships. The writing point of view switches from Jonathan, then to Joan, and finally to Simone. In several scenes there are some bold italics used for emphasis. There is some confusion in reading this book as the English usage is often incorrect. But the heart of the story is Jonathan's struggle to make better decisions and to lift the dense cloud of his suffering. Malaise by E.J. Eisman describes a man who is trying to find the kind of love that he can't give himself.
Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite Following the termination of an emotional affair with a co-worker, Simone, Jonathan turns first to a bottle of Jack Daniels and then to the maternal security of his wife’s sister Joan in order to dull the pain of a loveless marriage to Claire and his longing for Simone. Simone is also in a loveless marriage to a man who abuses her and she turns to other means of “medicating” away her pain. Joan is a never-married, businesswoman whose life runs on a strict schedule, which is her way of avoiding being drawn too deep into a relationship. Claire has turned the abuse that she experienced in her first marriage around and directs her hurt toward Jonathan, who is too weak to resist her abuse. As the story continues, the psychological factors revolving around each of the players play their part. Each finds that they run the entire gamut of emotions and escapes, searching for an answer to their inner turmoil. The twists and turns will eventually lead to an answer. Whether desired or not, the consequences of their actions will come back around to each one unless they do something to stop the downward spiral. In E.J. Eisman’s book Malaise, there is a picture of cause and effect clearly portrayed and brought into the light. As each character in the story searches through their own psychological reaction to the world and the relationships around them, they are continually given new opportunities to change and are continually experimenting with different ways to escape, while still doggedly holding onto the very things which are destroying them. This is an excellent look into the reality of relationships which are abusive on the one hand and submissive on the other. The reader will feel themselves moving through each aspect of the relationships and examining, judging, and perhaps even finding themselves wanting to give each a good talking to or a sound slap in the face. This is an excellent read for someone who enjoys exploring the human psyche.
In E. J. Eisman’s book Malaise, we are thrust into a marriage in decline. Jonathan has an emotional affair with his married co-worker, Simone, which they eventually break off. He confesses to his wife, Claire, who becomes controlling and distant. Claire‘s history with her previous, abusive husband evokes her anger, which she turns on Jonathan. She spends more time at her job to try to forget. Jonathan, feeling guilt for his betrayal, tries to please her as much as he can, but in Claire’s eyes, but he can never repair the damage to her fragile ego, and yet she holds on. Claire’s younger sister, Joan, contacts Jonathan, and over time she builds an email, personal, and physical relationship with him. Joan blossoms from a workaholic flower shop owner to a sexual woman in her own right who takes control of her life. She is finally stepping out from the shadow of her older sister, Claire, but when wronged, falls back into her old patterns. When the divorced Simone returns years later, the lover’s triangle is disrupted. The characters muddle through life, playing the role of hapless victims. Nobody has control of their own live, and they all spin around the orbit of Jonathan, to the point of annoyance. It is like watching a train wreck, but Eisman makes the reader care about the characters; we can’t look away. Malaise is a poignant study in relationships and human nature; the good, the bad, the right, and the, oh so very, wrong.