Reviews for Future of Love
Booklist Reviews 2008 February #2
*Starred Review* Renowned memoirist Abbott debuts as a novelist with a shrewd, polished comedy of manners. Beginning in Manhattan shortly before 9/11 and ending a year later, this witty yet weighty tale is told in eight distinct voices. Antonia, a canny, elegant widow, is trying to help her daughter, who is saddled with a feckless and unfaithful husband, while also looking after her best friends: Greg, an ailing black dancer, and his devoted white lover, Arty. Sam, a famous literary mogul whose wife lives like a lonely queen in their lavish Catskills estate, is in love with Antonia, while his granddaughter is in love with Greg's niece, and the two women plan a spectacular weddinglike commitment ceremony at Sam's country manor. As dramatic complications and losses accrue, Abbott opens windows onto all that changes and all that remains the same in love, marriage, class, race, and family life, and considers truth as both a weapon and a key to liberation. Abbott reaches deep psychological strata as she parallels the shocking assault on New York with the ravages of disease and time on the body, and illuminates the fact that everything we construct to keep chaos and darkness at bay can be destroyed in an instant. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 January #2
In her first novel, memoirist Abbott (Love's Apprentice, 1998, etc.) writes an elegiac paean to New York City while incorporating the experience of 9/11 into her varied characters' interwoven lives.The novel's heart is Antonia, a feisty Jewish feminist-activist of a certain age: in other words, a New York classic. Recently widowed and ensconced in her increasingly valuable Village apartment, Antonia finds herself surprisingly well-off. She is happily carrying on a passionate love affair with Sam, a semi-retired, married publisher. Sam's wife Edith is portrayed as a rigid, frigid philistine who avoids the city and resents hosting her lesbian granddaughter's commitment ceremony with the niece of Antonia's longtime downstairs neighbor, a dying gay dancer who has lived with his partner for 45 years. Although Abbott's dialogue occasionally lapses into awkward formality, she imbues these elderly characters with something better than dignity: a joie de vivre the novel's younger characters only strive for. Antonia's earnest daughter Maggie, who lives on the Upper West Side, correctly suspects that her husband Mark is having an affair with their four-year-old daughter's teacher Sophie. Mark is a depressed, depressingly Peter Pan-like man. Having lost his job at an investment firm, he mopes around, guilty and resentful, while caring for his daughter and working part-time in a wine shop. Antonia disapproves of Mark, although the parallel between his unhappy marriage and Sam's is unavoidable. On September 11 Mark is scheduled for a job interview in the North Tower. Instead, he finds himself walking to Sophie's Astoria apartment, where he plans to fake his death in order to escape his unsatisfying life. In contrast, the collapse spurs Sam to attempt reconciliation with Edith. Happily for Antonia, neither man's plan proves to be realistic.Elegantly written, conveying an obvious love and despair for the city and its inhabitants. Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 December #4
An ensemble of New Yorkers swim the choppy waters of romance, circa autumn 2001, in the first novel from memoirist Abbott (The Bookmaker's Daughter ). Having lost his job at an investment firm before September 11, Mark Adler siphons off the pressure through an affair with Sophie, his daughter's 25-year-old nursery school teacher. Mark's older parallel is Sam Mendel, a retired publisher with a sexless marriage and a lavish estate in the country. Sam is resigned to his existence until he meets Mark's mother-in-law, Antonia, and discovers a wholly unexpected erotic reincarnation. The limit to each affair is a devotion--Mark to his daughter, Sam to his estate--but even these are imperiled by 9/11. A deeply melancholic Mark exploits his location that morning (he was praying at Trinity Church before a job interview at the South Tower) to disappear and Sam puts his marriage and estate at risk by shacking up with Antonia downtown. Abbott pursues these and other plots--a lesbian commitment ceremony, a gay dancer's fight with cancer--through third-person perspectives that tie up the interconnections in surprisingly effective strokes. Abbott weaves a delicate tapestry of love and apocalypse. (Mar.) [Page 26]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.