“At some point in every one’s life, whether in a restaurant, watching one’s child play soccer, or walking through the streets alone, the question is asked, what else do you need? It is a question that once asked is almost impossible to answer. You may require nothing more at that exact moment to eat or drink, or you may be content with the bed in which you sleep, a favorite chair, the immediate wants and possessions of life. Then there are the intangible things, love, friendship, passion, faith, fulfillment. But you think about the question over and over again, because few of us have what we need-or few of us think we do, which almost the same thing. It can become a drumbeat. What else is there? Have I done enough? Do I need more? Am I satisfied?” (p. 102)
Charles Dubow explores what happens when we find ourselves discontent with what we have, and pursuing what we think we want, through his novel Indiscretion. It is a visceral novel, compelling from start to finish, as we are unable to pull ourselves away from the relationships between the youthful Claire, the Botticelli-like Maddy and National Book Award winning writer Harry which is told through the point of view of Walt, Maddy’s childhood friend.
Maddy and Harry have been married twenty years. They have settled into a comfortable existence, in tune with one another, happy with their life on the east coast. Their son has overcome a heart defect, he is growing up well, but there is a different defect within the heart of Harry. He is drawn into temptation, and beyond, when Claire enters their lives one summer.
The novel is steamy, and sexy, but not in a meaningless Shades of Grey sort of way. Every word is intentional, put there to show us the effect of our choices not only on ourselves but on those we love. As my mother has said to me more than once, “Often our lives spin on a hair.” She means that one chance encounter, one swift decision, can irrevocably change our lives forever. This novel shows us just that.