The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland

(publication date 6/3/18)
Writing; 4+ Characters: 4 Plot: 4

An intriguing exploration of the interior spaces of a marriage. Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married – ostensibly happily – for five years. And yet just as they are about to start a family, Cass suggests a six month “intermission” in which to step back and decide whether or not they belong together. The alternating chapters between their two voices are full of penetrating observations about themselves, their relationship, and their feelings about the other.

The writing is excellent and the characters are drawn with depth and plausibility. I found surprisingly fresh insights on most pages as each of their narratives unfolded. Both want to be good people and good partners and yet each has been holding back from the other – not “body hidden in the attic” kinds of secrets, but secrets that add a self-perceived dishonesty to the relationship. As a reader, I found my allegiance shifting between them as the story unfolded, which taught me a lot about my own morals, preferences, and perceptions. Very readable, unpredictable, and original – I enjoyed it far more than I expected from the basic description.

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