Showing posts with label Tracey Garvis Graves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tracey Garvis Graves. Show all posts

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Covet: A Novel by Tracey Garvis Graves

Covet: A Novel.  Tracey Garvis Graves. Plume: Penguin Group (USA). April 2014. 336 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9780142181126.

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on the rocks.  Chris has just gone back to work after being laid off from his former job for a year; he’s a workaholic who now has to be away four days and nights a week.  Still depressed because of the constant stress of being unemployed and now having a very stressful job that asks more and more of him, he has just about totally turned off to Claire.  Claire, on the other hand, has gone beyond understanding Chris’s worst fears and now feels totally alone, raising her children by herself most of the time and receiving zilch attention from her totally preoccupied spouse.

Add to that some neighbors with their own problems of excessive drinking and more and the reader begins to wonder if everyone’s life is so screwed up.  But Claire is about to enter a dangerous zone that begins being stopped by a police officer, Daniel, for a back light that’s out and enters into a new relationship phase that Claire calls “just good friends.”  In our current social world where half of all marriages dissolve, one wonders where Chris and Claire are headed – or not!

How does one decide when it’s better to keep fighting for a love gone awry or let go and move on to other pastures?  Are there depths or degrees of love that determine how one responds to that question? Or perhaps it’s the kids that motivate one’s response to that question?  For Claire and Chris, their children are initially oblivious but then seem to fine-tune to the negative vibes rippling through their parents’ brief encounters. 

How about when one fights for a marriage and the unintended discussions turn into angry eruptions?  And what about how the economy resounds in families’ lives so that every person is expected to deliver higher and higher quotas of product delivery that is really the equivalent of two or three people working?  There are other questions about the “roles” of husband and wife in contributing to the family’s bank account through work and more.

Covet: A Novel  initially reads like a stereotypical story of a declining marriage and yet one might want to read it with some of these relevant questions in mind that almost every American couple will be asking at one time or another because this novel portrays the reality of the American economy now!  For that reason, this is a novel deserving to be read and pondered by many, many readers!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

On The Island. Tracey Garvis Graves. Plume/Penguin Group USA. July 2012. 336 pages - Paperback. ISBN #: 9780142196724.

Anna Emerson is traveling with T. J. Callahan to a tropical island for several months. He's on vacation after recovering from cancer treatment, and she's there to tutor him for the schooling he missed during his illness. As she's bored with her Chicago life and unsure about the guy she's dating who refuses to even contemplate any type of commitment, this strikes her as a chance for something very different as well as some space to think about what her future holds.  It turns out she's going to have more than a brief interlude to contemplate her future.

Things begin to go awry when she notices the pilot popping anti-acids, sweating profusely, and occasionally rubbing his chest.  Sure enough, he has a heart attack but manages to land the plane on water but so hard the aircraft begins to fall apart.  Clutching remaining pieces and eventually each other, they finally manage to float and swim to a sandy shore, an island with no other inhabitants. 

What follows are three-and-a-half years of growing intimacy and harrowing, life-threatening experiences with disease, jellyfish, storms, and more.  Just learning how to get enough food to survive is an extraordinary strain, not to mention the toll it takes physically on both of them.

At first, TJ is the one whose hormones kick in because of this tutor who he begins to appreciate as a woman, but it's Anna who refuses to cross the line for a long, long time.  How will they reconcile their growing intimacy with what they know people will say about their ages and what would be seen as an older woman seducing a much younger man, even a teen. And really, at this time, it doesn't seem as if they will ever be rescued.

The plot sounds fairly simple, but the way the author crafts the story keeps the reader intensely interested, enjoying the humor, feeling the tension, and rooting for the well-being of these engaging characters.  Some may say it stretches credibility but such tales of solitary island living have occurred in reality.  On The Island is a heart-wrenching, adventurous, and passionate read on so many levels - all in all a great summer read!