Love In Mid-Air

“I just can’t,” I say, rubbing my eyes, “I can’t seem to remember why I married him.”
“Don’t drive yourself crazy,” says Belinda. “We all feel like that sometimes.” Nancy is running her finger around the rim of her wineglass.
“I’ve had a bad decade.”
“What you fail to understand, my dear,” says Kelly, “is that we’ve all had the same decade.” (p. 267)

I found this novel to be a thousand times more powerful than I ever thought it would. It seemed light. Fluffy, almost, like the clouds one looks down on from a high altitude. Or, up to from the ground. But, I guess it’s all about point of view. Something can look like one thing from one perspective, and totally different from another.

Take marriage, for example. I have friends who aren’t married; they tend to look at married couples and see “a soft place to land” as one of my oldest girlfriends once told me. They see someone to have a family with, to find comfort with, to grow old with.

But, that’s totally ignoring the parts which aren’t so soft a landing: getting along with someone else day in, day out. Marriage is as tricky as any other part of life. It can be glorious, and it can be gory.

I love how Kim Wright examined marriage through her character, Elyse, in Love in Mid-Air. Elyse is a mother in her thirties, married to a dentist and pursuing her artistic passion in ceramics. I could totally relate to the dissatisfaction she felt toward her husband, as well as the compulsion she felt to accept the advances of a stranger while flying home from a pottery show in which her work was exhibited.

Who wouldn’t be drawn to a sexy man, one who offers all that her husband doesn’t? He gives her passion, attention, and excitement. They are willing to meet each other, while leaving their spouses unaware, and settle for what they can grab one weekend a month. Alluring? Yes. Satisfying? I’m not so sure.

This is a novel which will make those of us who are married think, and those of us who aren’t question. It examines husbands and wives, being single and being married, being an adulterer, a friend, and a woman, more thoroughly than I have read since Madame Bovary or The Awakening. It is a modern day romance, with an intriguing ending. It begs the question, “What would you do if you were desperately unhappy in your marriage?”

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15 thoughts on “Love In Mid-Air”

  1. Marriages are really defined in the rough spots, don't you think? That dichotomy of "glorious" and "gory" is very difficult to portray evenly in a novel, but it looks like you think this one did it. Once again, your review has added something to my TBR pile.

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  2. Jessica, I think novels about relationships are my very favorite kind. From Murakami to Austen, to something completely moderns as Wright, I love reading of the characters, the choices they make, and how it effects their lives. So often such novels from today can be trite, but not this one.Connolly, I'm so glad you're intrigued by this post. It makes me happy that we like the same books; must be partly due to the educators in us. 😉 This novel portrays marriage in all its many facets so clearly. It also does a fabulous job with female friendships.Bermuda Onion, as the novel went on my patience for Elyse slipped. But, I will never forget her.

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  3. I just finished a novel dealing with infidelity, too (Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner), but this one sounds a little deeper. I loved The Awakening, but couldn't get into Madame Bovary. I think I'd like to try this one.

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  4. It's odd, to me, how I read Madame Bovary for the first time when I was seventeen. I'm planning on reading it for about the fifth time this October with Frances' group (of Nonsuch Book), but it always pierced my heart. I was struck how Emma Bovary was so dissatisfied with her life that she threw it all away. Maybe you'd like to try it again someday.

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  5. Sounds intriguing, and thought-provoking too. Madame Bovary is certainly a favorite but I haven't read it since I was in college and I'm not sure how I'd look at it now. Interesting!

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  6. I agree with Kathy, Bellezza, fabulous review! And I love your photo of this book! (I think unmarried people tend to over simplify the whole matter of marriage.) I'll be adding this book to my TBR list.(P.S. I can't wait to read your "review" of The Rembrandt Affair tomorrow!)

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  7. Marie, I wonder if you'd be interested in rereading it with us this October. Check my link to the discussion group under "Challenges/Read Alongs" at the top. I'd love to read it with you!Suko, 'tending to simplify marriage' is exactly what I meant. It's as though my unmarried friends can only see the parts they long for. Which, I suppose, is true of most things. It's hard to see the negative of anything until it appears in your own life.I hope my thoughts on The Rembrandt Affiar don't disappoint you! 😉

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  8. I have this one on my stacks, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm glad to read that it's pretty substantial since I'm in the mood for something reasonably weighty right now.

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  9. I haven't read the book so I can't tell if it's good, but I know your review is Bellezza.Weddings are beautiful and romantic, marriage is different.

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  10. This is a book that would cause a complete stir in my book club. Some of the women are married and most of us have been married. One woman has never married and has a very romantic and unrealistic notion about what marriage really is. This book would definitely cause some fireworks in the club!

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  11. Especially when you see what Elyse chooses at the end! You would have a fascinating discussion, I think, if the ideas of marriage are already being "tossed around" in your group.

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