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Middle Age: A Romance

by Joyce Carol Oates

The sudden death of Adam Berendt, an enigmatic artist, has a disruptive effect on his friends whom it seems hardly knew him after all. Adam was scarred, ugly and detached, but women loved him, and their husbands were attracted and repelled by him. Lots of threads loosely weave together to give a clever picture of each person’s mid-life crisis. Long, slow-moving with lots of character description, but worth the effort if you can make the time.

Extract

Futile! Yes, that was it. Adam Berendt's presence in the world made others feel less futile.
Camille's uncharacteristic eloquence seemed to take her by surprise. But square-built Adam stood his ground, shaking his head, frowning. If only the man would let her touch him! wrap him in her arms! hide her heated face against his neck. 'Camille, you're a lovely woman, and I feel very tenderly toward you. But I don't think you understand what the consequences could be, of your coming to me like this; coming to any man, like this. Your marriage which has been your life might be destroyed, and your life devastated. It isn't worth it dear. Not with me, not with anyone.'
Camille said, her voice rising, 'I don't want 'anyone,' Adam, for God's sake! I want you. I love you.'
'But what exactly does this 'love' attach to, Camille? What do you love?'



Parallels

A Widow for One Year by John Irving
 

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