The Reunion

Friday, July 25, 2014

Imperfect Paradise by Dan Dembiczak

Sarah and Michael have been married for, maybe two hours, and she’s bored. Bored may not be quite the right word, but she’s disinterested, numb, perhaps. At her reception, her main concern is the wine.

Her new husband is not a bad person. He’s dense, perhaps, certainly not thoughtful, and directive, very directive.

The reader soon becomes very sympathetic to Sarah – and very angry at her husband. Maybe it was understandable that he fell asleep on their wedding night before she came to bed. After all, they’d been living together for several years and they spent the night at their home. Perhaps it was just another night following another party. Right.

It’s not just that he ignored her wish to honeymoon in Paris in favor of two weeks in Hawaii, an event he calls their “vacation” rather than their “honeymoon,” nor the that he made no arrangements for them to be welcomed to the island with lei, nor that he brought his golf clubs and proceeds to spend each day of their “vacation” on the course. It is all of these, taken together. I found him to be infuriating!

Sarah meets a handsome, young man who works the concierge desk at the hotel. He offers a private tour of the island on his day off. She is indecisive, but her husband tells her to go – he’ll be playing golf.

Several days into their “vacation,” Sarah finds a scrawny cat in the parking lot. She rubs the cat, who cries as she walks away. She never sees the cat again, although she brings food. She later finds that the cat has died. The reader sees the cat as a symbol of her marriage, perhaps.

Sarah tells the story. I love stories told in the first person, although, as an author, I would think it a rather difficult thing to do. The author, however, does it exceedingly well. I felt as if I were listening to Sarah’s soft voice as she describes her life and her feelings. The reader is drawn into Sarah’s mind, into her thoughts, her feelings, her world. We understand her attempts to cope with her husband’s behavior, and we share her sorrow when her attempts fail.

The book is very well-written, and you will not want to stop until you reach the end.