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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE CONSEQUENCES OF WANTING MORE
Marriages are always fascinating subjects. Each has its own set of dynamics and Charles Dubow does a marvelous job of looking at the many sides of marital love in his novel INDISCRETION. At the center of this addictive story is a seemingly perfect married couple whose devotion to each other is the fabric from which fairy tales are created. East Hampton, New York and...
Published 21 months ago by Red Rock Bookworm

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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That Old "Roseate Glow"
This is the story of a man who has it all--a cottage in the Hamptons, a townhouse in Manhattan, a national book award for his most recent novel, a gorgeous adoring wife (full-breasted, "the most beautiful woman anywhere she went")--and who throws it all away for the excitement of an affair with a pretty young editor (laughter like "silver bells") who pursues him. It is...
Published 21 months ago by Wanda B. Red


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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE CONSEQUENCES OF WANTING MORE, November 7, 2012
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Marriages are always fascinating subjects. Each has its own set of dynamics and Charles Dubow does a marvelous job of looking at the many sides of marital love in his novel INDISCRETION. At the center of this addictive story is a seemingly perfect married couple whose devotion to each other is the fabric from which fairy tales are created. East Hampton, New York and Rome are the settings and Maddy and Harry are the couple whose idyllic lifestyle and love are tested by a young woman named Claire whose myopic reality and high-demand vision of life drives the story. Although the love triangle plot is nothing new, Dubow has managed to elevate this particular tale above the ordinary with fine character development and a well crafted narrative.

Walter Gervais, a friend of Maddys who has loved her since they were children growing up in the privileged atmosphere of the Hamptons recounts the story and his perspective makes the reader question the reliability of his memory - - was Maddy really that flawless, was Walter truly that gullible, was Claire that shallow and selfish? What is at the bottom of this story? Is this one man's romanticized version of "mature and devoted love versus the youthful outlook of " I want what I want when I want it and am not above using hot, sensual sex to get it" - - - sort of F. Scott Fitzgerald meets E. L. James.

While this book has been compared to THE GREAT GATSBY in its tone and delivery, the ambiguity of certain plot points as delivered by the Walter character often casts him as the male version of Briony Tallis in Atonement.

INDISCRETION is a painful but well-executed portrait of ordinary human weakness and its aftermath.
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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That Old "Roseate Glow", November 24, 2012
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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This is the story of a man who has it all--a cottage in the Hamptons, a townhouse in Manhattan, a national book award for his most recent novel, a gorgeous adoring wife (full-breasted, "the most beautiful woman anywhere she went")--and who throws it all away for the excitement of an affair with a pretty young editor (laughter like "silver bells") who pursues him. It is just as clichéd and yet just as delicious as that description makes it sound. The oldest plot in the world continues to be one of the hardest to understand and the hardest to put down.

The tremendous and thoughtless hard-drinking privilege of these characters, who take their wealth and beauty for granted, is a great lure to the reader; who would not like to wallow in this world for the few sittings it takes to read this novel? Bottles of the finest wine appear on cue, designer dresses fairly jump off the racks, as Harry, Maddy, and their crew traipse through Europe (esp. Rome and Paris). But in the end the credit card comes due, as the novel itself seems to acknowledge. The characters are ultimately diminished by their callowness, their puerile pursuits of their own pleasures and traumas, and though Dubow stretches out the fantasy for as long as possible, he is finally forced to sound the grim notes of tragedy and retreat, no less clichéd themselves for the long delay.

"Indiscretion" pays tribute to F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" in a number of ways--in its setting, to be sure, but also in its narrative structure. Walter Gervais plays Nick Carraway to Harry Winslow's Jay Gatsby. The model, however, far outshines the imitation. At the same time, Charles Dubow has written an enjoyable book. He is in control of its twists and turns, and while the prose is sometimes purple, it fits its theme. I would give this 3 and a half stars if I could. As the editor says in the letter that introduces my copy, it's "engrossing," "it's glamorous, it's sexy." If not "spectacular," the writing is professional and stands up to its story.
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46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penetrating the Inner Circles, Enthralling Novel, November 1, 2012
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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I wanted the book to end on (my) page 349 but it does not. Charles Dubow has more love and anguish to provide the reader until reaching the end of this superb debut novel.

It is a page-turner but not in the sense of a thriller or a mystery. Dubow is able to capture the sophistication of F. Scott Fitzgerald without his pure style and good taste. However, the similarity of the anguished upper class is brilliantly caught in this story of how tragic, split-second choices can even change of the lives of the most lucky characters.

Dubow cleverly inserts a narrator, Walter Gervais, best friend and lifetime admirer of Madeline Winslow. Maddy is married to Harry Winslow, a National Book Award winner. They have a wonderful son, Johnny, friends galore and enough money to live like the rich. Maddy is stunningly beautiful and a loyal wife with wonderful friends. Dubow paints their cottage in East Hampton with careful attention to how old money lives. Dubow surprised me with his depiction of Claire, who can't help becoming the symbol of extreme sexuality and selfishness. She is devoid of guilt, unlike Harry who brings us intimacy on a blazing level.

There is constant movement of activities; everyone is athletic, they eat well and ever present throughout the entire novel is liquor. Liquor sates all the characters and represents good times and very bad times. Drinking flows in every scene; it appears to be a necessity for everyone.

The interaction of the characters is sensual and painstakingly real in terms of desire and well-defined movements. They progress through their lives with grace, despite some despicable childhoods. Our narrator, Walter, shifts the reader from the various time periods with ease and clarity. I always knew what part of the story he was telling me and how he wanted to convey the emotions. The plot was finely drawn, with some surprises and yet nothing shocked me. I became upset, felt exhilaration, recognized the agony of pure love and not once did I believe Dubow was scattered. He was sure of himself. I do not want to give away the plot or the intricacies of the story, but this is one of the better books I have read in a long time. It is lyrical and erudite; it doesn't insult me. Highly recommended.
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48 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inane filler with only deceit as the plot, November 3, 2012
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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When we think of a plot that involves an affair, we assume that there will be more than that as the story line. However, Dubow has written a book on nothing more than a simple affair. There are no "Glenn Close" moments and so here are my thoughts:
If you like to read about a middle aged man having an affair with a young and of course beautiful woman, then this is your book.
If you want to read about how this deceit ruined his family then please read this book.
If you want to read a lot of inane filler because there is nothing else going on, then this is your book.

The characters have very little depth; the story is absolutely mundane and goes nowhere. I didn't feel any empathy for any of the characters other than on a rare occasion; but even then it did not hold through those brief moments. Telling the story in the first person but from the point of view of a third party to the affair gives a very strained feel to the story as it puts distance between the reader and the characters. It does not help that the narrator is a whining, heartbroken bachelor that could never get over his childhood sweetheart. And of course the characters are wealthy and living in the Hamptons. Wow, how interesting is that? And lo and behold, the beautiful, young and broke woman that has the affair is trite and uninteresting.

If that isn't enough, the ending is terrifically ridiculous as are the explanations of the events.

This is not a book that I could recommend on any level. I am very uncertain as to why it was published in the first place. This one is going straight to the trash.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Indiscretion is a well written first novel, both captivating in its plot, and flowing in its prose. A trick very few first time, February 5, 2013
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
This book reminded me of a fictionalized case study of Shirley Glass's wonderful book on infidelity, Not Just Friends. The premise of the latter book is we are most vulnerable to cheating on our spouses when we feel the most secure and consequently take our relationship for granted. You see marriages, even great marriages, need constant nurturing or they become susceptible to corruption. If you make the assumption that you are to "in love" and it could never happen to you, that is when you stop safe guarding against threats.

Charles Dubow has perfectly captured this scenario in his debut novel Indiscretion. Harvey and Madeleine Winslow are the perfect couple. Happily married, living a successful life, and bonded with their child. They have good friends and enjoy each other's company. Simply put, they are in love. Then enter the young ingénue Claire, a breath of fresh air into a tight group. At first they take her in never once sensing the potential dangers that lurk below the surface. Once she has penetrated their lives they are helpless to stop the damage that ensues.

The sad truth at the end of Indiscretion, the beauty their former lives once held is gone forever; the fabric marred clean through. Everyone begins an affair caught up in the superficial excitement that it brings, only to discover too late the true deep and abounding joy that was theirs to begin with. Once that disappointment overcomes the initial lust the relationship is on its way to being over. And the participants are left with a deep sense of regret that can never truly be repaired.

Indiscretion is a well written first novel, both captivating in its plot, and flowing in its prose. A trick very few first time novelists can master. Plus it is a wonderful morality tale that will leave you a little more respectful of your own relationships. Reading about the loss of one love can serve to inoculate your own just a little bit. I am looking forward to Dubow's sophomore effort.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Indiscretion... more like indigestion!, October 28, 2013
What a complete disappointment! I purchased the novel after reading a brief description and the reviews in People and Oprah's "O" magazine. "O" magazine raves Indiscretion is a "smart, sensuous, and moving debut novel". It was anything but smart, sensuous and moving. Instead, I found it silly, detached and uninteresting. The main characters are flat and do not merit the reader's sympathy, empathy or otherwise. The plot is devoid of any twists or turns (until the ridiculous ending which seems so contrived, as if the author felt he had to introduce something to wake us up toward the ending) and goes into incredible detail when it comes to food or scenery; however, the same attention is not paid to the characters and their development. It doesn't help that the narrator is telling the story from the third person pov that gives the novel a detached feel. Perhaps this is also why the characters seem flat and try as I might, I did not feel invested in any of them. There was no rooting for the handsome heroic Harry nor for the lovely misguided Claire, despite what I believed to be the author's intent to create a Camelot/Kennedy - like family saga. Even more, the story, about indiscretion in the form of infidelity, glosses over the aftermath of the affair between Harry and Claire and cheats the reader out of the details that lead to the terrible unbelievable climax. This is the first review I have ever written online - I was hoping to save even one person from wasting their money.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We make so many right decisions in life, but it is the wrong ones that can never be forgiven.", February 24, 2013
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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You might think you have already read this classic plot a hundred times. Seen the movies, screamed NO NO NO at the character about to make a colossal mistake. You might be reminded of a situation like this that happened in your own life or to someone else you know. Nevertheless, the author handles the tale of a happy marriage that goes wrong when the husband chooses to become involved with a captivating young woman in a unique way that will make you think about the monumental indiscretion and the inevitable consequences for a long time after closing the book.

Harry and Madeline Winslow have a great life together summering in the Hamptons and owning a place in the city. They and their son, Johnny, are living the American dream. Harry has written an award winning novel, she has trust fund money -- they have wonderful friends and have built a strong marriage that revolves around a solid and loving foundation. The story of the unraveling of their happy world is told by Maddy's best friend and neighbor, Walter Gervais. He knows them best, secretly loves Maddy, but is content to be a satellite in their orbit.

Enter Claire. She meets the Winslows and becomes entranced with their life -- and Harry. Is this just another case of a middle-aged man seduced by a young girl infatuated by money, fame, and a social position that she covets? The descriptions and details of their affair are not the real story here, however. The reasons why Harry does it and the resulting fallout from the inevitable discovery aren't new either. It's the way the narrative unfolds, the point of view of the narrator, Walter, and the way he describes the characters from his own perspective and self-admitted faulty memories that makes this book so engrossing. There are no real answers to the question: what would make a happily married man cheat? Why does he take the risk of losing it all? Is it human nature to be unsatisfied with your lot and always want MORE? And most of all -- what happens AFTER?

Many other reviewers have compared this novel to The Great Gatsby, but though there are some similarities, it is not a copycat of that story. I read this in a couple of hours today as I could not put it down and walk away.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, Lust, and a Lackey, January 5, 2013
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
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For a first novel, Charles Dubow's "Indiscretion" is quite a feat. He allows a hanger-on (albeit a rich one) to narrate the story, filling in details he has no way to know for sure. Walter is unmarried, content (or maybe not so content) to live in the shadows of his friends, Harry and Maddy. Maddy and Walter have been friends practically all their lives. But once she meets Harry, they are a match, and Walter knows it. After Yale, there is law school for Walter and the military for Harry. Maddy does her time as a military wife, moving from here to there.

They settle in New York. Harry decides to write. Financially, they are rather well off, and they drift into a social circle of good friends in the Hamptons, a New York brownstone, and trips abroad. One summer, a sweet young thing comes by on the arm of a scoundrel. Everyone (except the scoundrel) is smitten with Claire's charming laugh and her shining youth, for at this point, Harry, Maddy, and Walter are middle-aged.

Claire is enraptured by Harry, and not simply because he is now a famous author. She equally loves and admires Maddy, a woman born to wealth, but a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul. Walter looks on from his empty house. He is not quite as smitten with Claire, having his own desires elsewhere.

This was a quick read, a touching whirl of a golden couple, kind, good people with wealth. When the book dives into a sordid affair with Claire as the seductress, the tug-of-war for the reader's allegiance begins to build. Claire could be excused for her youth. Or not. The affair becomes public by choice, leaving broken hearts in its path.

The four-star rating here is a result of a technical choice by the author and editors in the last 50 pages. I am not a reader who enjoys a little trick, a sleight of hand, with the narrative.

This is a good book, an easy book to read, but unsatisfying in its finale. I do recommend it for the descriptions of that other world among the rich, the characters, and the travel scenes. It's fun to walk the streets of Paris and Rome with our characters, taking in the sights, the bistros. You simply have to be ready for the big let down at the end. Drat it all! I could only wish for a different and better ending.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Finished it hoping for something, April 10, 2013
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Based on the other reviews, I was expecting something much different. To me this was nothing more than a predictable, soap opera-ish saga. Not sure what the publisher saw when they read this story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terribly written, March 13, 2013
This review is from: Indiscretion: A Novel (Hardcover)
I also don't know why this book got so many 5-star reviews. The writing was painful to read, and the sex scenes. . . I shall say no more. I found Claire and Harry together a little unbelievable, and Walter was so pitiful - a middle-aged bachelor who couldn't get over Maddy and move on and find someone who would love him back. I did cry in the end, though, simply because it was soooo sad. But pass on this book and read another.
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Indiscretion: A Novel
Indiscretion: A Novel by Charles Dubow (Hardcover - February 5, 2013)
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