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My Occasional Torment based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Having previously had two books published (under other names: The Widow's Son, as Bruce Steinberg; a largely autobiographical tale about growing up in a single parent household after his father was killed as a result of an accident; five stars; and River Ghosts, as B.R. Robb; a literary mystery about a bi-racial, small-town cop facing the man who killed his parents; five stars), the author shows his versatility in this tale of love, marriage, neighbors, parenting, and Scotland. This straightforward tale is at times zany, at times sentimental, at times profound, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, but at all times carries the literary mastery of narrative description and emotions for which Bruce is so well-known. This book has proven so popular it has already been adapted and produced for the stage to rave reviews. While I confess that I prefer Bruce's more dramatic/serious work because the characters are more realistic than the broader, zanier personalities needed for comedy and the literary tone of his narrative is a better, more consistent fit for dramatic scenes, there is no doubt at all that Bruce is a strong talent in multiple genres. My Occasional Torment has profound insights, wrenching dramatic scenes, and outrageously funny, tell-your-friends comedic set-pieces, all wrapped around a sentimental core that is a love letter to all married couples.
It Has been thirty three years of marriage to Sebastian Connery, yet Julia fears for her relationship. She knows her spouse, his lunatic father also named Sebastian and ashes of the extended Connery brood in the urns inside her bedroom closet remain irate with her for not naming the next generation the III. Julia begins talking to herself. Her husband has been vanishing for periods without explanation. The ashes of her relatives agree that is like he did years ago when Sebastian was having an affair. Her imaginary self insists what do you expect after three decades of marital ennui and challenges her real self to find a faithful happy couple celebrating their silver anniversary. Julia begins her quest which leads to the retirement community of Sebastian the elder and dinner with the "Vampire" next door whose husband allegedly exploded. So far Julia has had no success on her quest to find a couple who remain in lust after five decades of marriage. This is an intriguing look at marriage over the long run as everyone including her still disapproving of her (after three plus decades of marriage to his son) father-in-law, her Vampire neighbor next door, her teen son and most critical her other self insists intimacy inevitably becomes ennui. The support cast especially the imaginary Julia is flaky as they insist marital survival is not marital romance. Although Julia's occasional torment seems at times childish and irritatingly churlish compared with the rest of cast specifically her alter ego, fans will enjoy her quest to find one marriage of fifty years or more in which the couple remain overtly intimately in love. Harriet Klausner