This peculiar novel comes from the overwhelmingly reliable Permanent Press. It is roughly divided into four parts. But first some background.
Cal and Winnie are married and have two kids. Call loves Winnie, Winnie loves Cal, and Cal is absolutely devoted to his children. Lara and Winnie are friends. Lara and Ian are married but have no children. Cal and Lara bump into each other, and Cal notices her beauty. He is smitten. Duberstein writes, [I only have an uncorrected proof, but as soon as I get a trade copy, I will post a quote.] (25). Cal and Lara decide to take two weeks together to work out of their system the mutual attraction that had been building. Lara tells Ian, but Call does not tell Winnie.
Numerous stories crossed my mind while reading The Twoweeks by Larry Duberstein. These stories involve people married or involved with the wrong partner. Someone new comes along, and suddenly chaos breaks out. Think The English Patient, Bridges of Madison County, Shakespeare in Love, and The End of the Affair by Graham Green.
Part one involves Lara reading a journal of The Twoweeks, but Cal interrupts her and insists the “backstory” is important and relevant. Part two reveals the journal, frequently interspersed with comments mainly from Cal explaining, revising, or adding details in the journal. Part three describes separately Lara and Cal’s reaction in the immediate aftermath of the two weeks. Part four has a narrator outside the novel. Here all is revealed.
Duberstein’s prose is down to earth and conversational – lots of dialogue between Cal and Lara, and between Cal and himself and Lara and herself. The reader delves deeply into the psychology of these two characters, and clearly reveals the trauma and heart ache associated with finding oneself in a marriage when someone “better” or “more suited” comes along.
Having been in such a relationship myself not too many years ago, I had a great deal of empathy for Cal and Lara, as well as a lot of sympathy for Ian and Winnie. The major complicating factor in this novel, is of course, the children.
The Twoweeks is Larry Duberstein’s eighth novel along with two collections of short stories. I see a future spent hunting for the rest of his works. 5 stars