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A Reader of Fictions: Brothers on a Hotel Bed - Death Cab for Cutie

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brothers on a Hotel Bed - Death Cab for Cutie

The Uncoupling

Author: Meg Wolitzer
Pages: 271
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Brief Summary:
A new drama teacher comes to Elro (Eleanor Roosevelt) High School and begins preparations for the year's school play, Lysistrata. This play tells the story of a town full of Greek women who deny their husbands sex, in hopes of convincing them to end the Peloponnesian War. As the play comes to town, so to does a mysterious chilling wind, which kills off desire in the town's women, young and old.

Even though I have not yet read the Lysistrata, I have trouble resisting literature about literature, especially when the premise sounds so incredibly fascinating. The Uncoupling focuses primarily on the spell's effects upon one family, Dory, Robby and Willa Lang. Dory and Robby, in their early forties, seem to have the perfect married relationship, still keeping their sex life going and pleasurable. That is until the day the spell strikes and Dory goes cold. This spell is entirely terrifying, as it is not a voluntary choice not to have sex, as in Lysistrata but a sudden complete lack of interest for the women.

The story was a treat: well-written, simple and clever. The Uncoupling follows the narrative arc of a comedic play, quite fittingly. The cast of assembled characters go about their days, unaware of the larger scope of things until the dramatic climax (the performance of the play). Then follows the dénouement, in which we see the lives of those leftover in the happy (?) ending.

I also greatly enjoyed the magical realism aspect of the story, the fact that the spell, as it is called, was magic of a sort but also very natural. Unsurprisingly, I also adored the fact that the magic stemmed from literature. Great books can come alive in people's lives, even if it's not necessarily as overt as it was in the case of this little town. I will definitely be adding more Meg Wolitzer to my reading list!

"And I have learned that even landlocked lovers yearn for the sea like navy men
Cause now we say goodnight from our own separate sides
Like brothers on a hotel bed"

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