DESPERATE CHARACTERS: The cat effect

Once upon a time there was a Brooklyn middle-aged couple whose marital life was that great, but they could handle that. But on a weekend everything happened. The husband was dumped by his business partner, husband and wife bring up all the past resentment and, on the top of that, she is bitten by a stray cat. This is just the beginning.

The bite is the starter – or the materialization – of a bigger crisis. The time is the late 1960s when the world was changing very fast, but the Bentwoods weren’t ready for that apparently. They are swallowed up by the new world where their way of life seems to have no place anymore.

Published in the 1970s, “Desperate Characters” is a short novel with pathos and comic moments. In a few pages Fox is able to capture a moment that influences both historical and personal levels. There is a strong narrative populated by complex characters. Everything is very subtle and with nuance.

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