Fiction Jane Vandenburgh Physics of Sunset

ISBN 13: 9781582431000

Physics of Sunset

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9781582431000: Physics of Sunset

An affair to remember, Jane Vandenburgh's new novel is a spellbinding and fearless portrait of the complex erotics of modern married life.

Fire, flood, and earthquake-the typical California disaster scenario pales in comparison to the calamity waiting to occur when Anna meets Alex in The Physics of Sunset. Fellow Easterners-in-exile-to-Berkeley, the almost-divorced poet Anna and the very married architect Alex start an affair that soon threatens their formerly well-ordered lives. Science, sex, and the clash between East and West (coasts) form the nucleus of this blisteringly smart satire of contemporary mores and morals.

"The sex alone makes the pages tremble, but there is much more, brilliantly told. She is the Colette and Jean Rhys of our own Côte d'Azur."-James Salter

"Each of the many layers of this new novel exudes a quirky brilliance, lots of soul and acerbic humor, with great tenderness shining underneath it all."-Anne Lamott

"In this elegant book, a season of freedom and joy-an escape into secrecy from the politics of liberation by two people bound for a time to one another-leads to suffering that is profound and clarifying."-Wendell Berry

"The Physics of Sunset is a gorgeous poem to human and physical observation. Reading it is like being given the gift of second sight."-John Burnham Schwartz

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Product Description:

Fire, flood, and earthquake -- the typical California disaster scenario pales in comparison to the calamity waiting to occur when Anna meets Alex in The Physics of Sunset. Fellow Easterners-in-exile-to-Berkeley, the almost-divorced poet Anna and the very married architect Alex start an affair that soon threatens their formerly well-ordered lives. Science, sex, and the clash between East and West (coasts) form the nucleus of this blisteringly smart satire of contemporary mores and morals.

Review:

A novel that concerns adultery between a married Jewish architect and an almost-divorced poet--in Berkeley, no less--had better have a sense of humor about its subject. Fortunately, The Physics of Sunset does. Yes, Jane Vandenburgh populates her tale with characters named Alec and Gina and Carlo and Veronique; yes, they all have glamorous occupations such as poet and painter and experimental musician; and, yes, they dine at Chez Pannisse. But into the mix, the author stirs a bracing dollop of irony and not a little satire. Take, for example, this commentary on Berkeley life:

What one did in order to demonstrate that you were a successful Berkeley couple, Anna noticed, was manage to stay together long enough to get the family's portrait done by Elizabeth Smythe and therefore have irrefutable evidence.
And then there are the chapter titles--spiky little headings, such as "Technically Daylight" or "Suicide Haiku" or "Schmutz," that add a frisson of anticipation of what is to follow. What does follow is the history of two marriages, and the point where they intersect. Architect Alec Baxter and his wife, Gina, have entered a lull in their relationship; Gina, an artist, has become so involved in her latest venture, Video Family, that "her love for this project--she called it 'Bungalow'--was so intense, her love for her own family paled by comparison." Though Alec is proud of his wife and of her dedication, he is also beginning to think "vaguely of other women." Enter poet Anna Shay, a neighbor whose own marriage to her musician husband, Charlie, is on the rocks. Over a period of years, Alec and Anna--both East Coast transplants to Berkeley--are drawn to each other and finally into an affair that threatens to shatter the careful balance each has achieved in life. Though The Physics of Sunset is not a particularly long book, Vandenburgh doesn't rush Anna and Alec--or the reader--into this affair. Instead she carefully lays the groundwork, introducing us to her protagonists' pasts, to their friends and passions and preoccupations, before finally allowing them to indulge in some very kinky sexual adventuring. Indeed, one could describe this book as an erotic novel for intellectuals, for in between the graphic love scenes are meditations on subjects as diverse as physics, architecture, and ethnography. In her second novel, Jane Vandenburgh has taken an old subject and given it a uniquely imagined new twist. --Alix Wilber

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Book Description COUNTERPOINT, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 156 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Fire, flood, and earthquake -- the typical California disaster scenario pales in comparison to the calamity waiting to occur when Anna meets Alex in The Physics of Sunset. Fellow Easterners-in-exile-to-Berkeley, the almost-divorced poet Anna and the very married architect Alex start an affair that soon threatens their formerly well-ordered lives. Science, sex, and the clash between East and West (coasts) form the nucleus of this blisteringly smart satire of contemporary mores and morals. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781582431000

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Book Description COUNTERPOINT, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 156 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Fire, flood, and earthquake -- the typical California disaster scenario pales in comparison to the calamity waiting to occur when Anna meets Alex in The Physics of Sunset. Fellow Easterners-in-exile-to-Berkeley, the almost-divorced poet Anna and the very married architect Alex start an affair that soon threatens their formerly well-ordered lives. Science, sex, and the clash between East and West (coasts) form the nucleus of this blisteringly smart satire of contemporary mores and morals. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781582431000

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