Thursday, February 2, 2023

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow


They were the perfect couple.  Maddy was tall, gorgeous and came from old money.  Harry was an author with a National Book Award in his resume.  They met and fell in love in college and now in their forties, they live in Maddy's family cottage in the Hamptons with their son.

Claire is in her twenties, just starting to make a career in New York.  She is invited out to the Hamptons one weekend by a man she has been dating casually.  She is excited to go but he shows another side of himself away from the business world.  The two meet Maddy and Harry at a party and are invited to a dinner party at the couple's house.  While there, Claire's date is vulgar and then abusive to her and Claire ends up staying with Maddy and Harry leaving her date to go home by himself.  

After that rescue, the couple take up Claire and she becomes part of their circle.  Their next door neighbor is Walter, Maddy's best friend from childhood who is now a lawyer in New York.  There are other couples who are bright and talented.  Claire feels like she has won the lottery.  Then she finds out that Maddy and Harry and their son are headed to Italy for a year.  She is despondent.

When Harry comes back to New York for a quick trip, he and Claire go out to dinner.  Afterwards, they end up falling into bed and soon they are having an affair.  Harry is torn between two women whom he loves but there is nothing but disaster that can lead from this.  

Charles Dubow grew up in the environment he sets this novel in.  He grew up in the Hamptons and had a successful career before he wrote this debut novel.  The narrator of the novel is Walter and this bit of distance from the love affair and the tragedies that lead from its discovery makes the story more effective.  The reader is torn between Maddy and Claire and whether or not to sympathize with Harry.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.  

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