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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-04-23
- Reviewer: Staff
In her superb first novel, Gideon (The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After, a memoir) artfully traces the contours of a dull marriage in the age of Facebook. Alice and William Buckle start out happy, but two kids and nearly 20 years later, Alice is bored and desperate for stimulation. When she gets an e-mail asking her to participate in a study about modern marriage, Alice impulsively agrees. Dubbed “Wife 22” and assigned a caseworker called “Researcher 101,” Alice begins answering his probing questions (though readers are usually privy only to her responses), rendering Alice and her marriage in impressionistic strokes vibrantly textured with succinct, revealing details: “15. Uncommunicative. Dismissive. Distant. 16. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). However, as the confessions pour forth, Alice and Researcher 101’s relationship takes a romantic turn. Comprising a tapestry of traditional narrative, e-mails, Facebook chats, and other digital media, Gideon’s work is an honest assessment of a woman’s struggle to reconcile herself with her desires and responsibilities, as well as a timely treatise on the anonymity and intimacy afforded by digital communiques. Fully formed supporting characters and a nuanced emotional story line make Gideon’s fiction debut shimmer. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman, Curtis Brown. (June)