Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: "Obsession: An Erotic Tale" by Gloria Vanderbilt

Obsession: An Erotic Tale (2009)
Gloria Vanderbilt(1924-)

144 pages

Under the pile of my letters [to my husband] I came upon another, tied with magenta grosgrain ribbon --- dove-gray envelopes with writing in magenta ink in an unknown hand…
So begins the descent of a recently widowed woman into an obsession bordering on madness. As she reads through these letters from the unsuspected mistress of her deceased husband, the insecurities that she had managed to hold at bay in the fire of her husband’s apparent passion for her rise up, and jealousy begins to consume her.

On the other side of the continent, the mistress learns of her lover’s death, and, although fully provided for, she finds herself now suddenly alone, an invisible remnant of her lover’s life. She too is consumed by jealousy --- for the widow who has a public connection to her lover that the mistress will never enjoy.

The book is a slim volume, easily read in a couple of hours, and to describe much more of the plot would give away too much, and ruin the pleasure of discovering how and what these two mourning women learn of the details of each other’s lives, and the unexpected connections they share.

The story moves between dreams and reality, and at times it can be unclear where the line between the two is. This too, however, somehow takes the reader back to the title emotion: obsession can overpower one’s thoughts, and leave one’s mind swimming in a shifting world of the real and the imagined.

Other of my book reviews: FICTION and NON-FICTION