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Indiscretion Hardcover – February 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Harry and Madeleine Winslow seem to have it all. Harry has recently won the National Book Award, and Madeleine, who comes from money, does everything, from playing tennis to cooking dinner, with sophisticated ease. Then, during one of their weekends at their Hamptons house, they meet beautiful 26-year-old Claire, an unabashed admirer of their lifestyle, who soon comes to be a fixture at their summer parties. When the Winslows decamp to Rome, where Harry struggles to complete his new novel, Claire is bereft. Then Harry returns to the States for a meeting with his publisher, and his chance encounter with Claire leads them to embark upon a passionate affair. All of the drama unleashed by their betrayal of Maddy is conveyed by Walter, a childhood friend of Maddy’s who has long been in love with her. In his first novel, Dubow proves himself to be an elegant writer with a shrewd sense of how to shape his material for the broadest appeal. Glamorous settings, old money, and steamy sex all combine to make this one a totally addictive read. --Joanne Wilkinson


“Indiscretion richly delves into the complex permutations of love. Charles Dubow writes with nuanced precision, and his characters are captivatingly real. This is a fine, supple, riveting first novel.” (Kate Christenson, author of The Great Man and The Astral)

“Charles Dubow has pulled off something remarkable: a finely tuned, perfectly pitched literary novel with the urgency of a tensely plotted thriller. I couldn’t put it down.” (Chris Pavone, author of the New York Times bestseller The Expats)

“An epic novel of friendship, betrayal and undying love ... outstanding” (Kirkus)

“A smart, sensuous, and moving debut. … Delicious. ... The characters exude a Jazz Age glamour.” (O magazine)

“A cultural lament wrapped in a lesson about extramarital lust--a riveting read.” (Daily Beast)

“Dubow proves himself to be an elegant writer with a shrewd sense of how to shape his material for the broadest appeal. Glamourous settings, old money, and steamy sex all combine to make this one a totally addictive read.” (Booklist)

“Dubow’s first novel is a deliciously absorbing page-turner. His captivating characters jump off the page to pull the reader into their story.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Dubow has composed an addictive first novel that keeps the reader guessing with the turn of each page. . . . INDISCRETION transcends the love story archetype.” (BookPage)

“Charles Dubow’s greatest triumph is in the way that he reinvents and reinvigorates familiar themes in a mesmerizing new way.” (New World Review)

“An homage to Gatsby-right down to its Nick Carraway-ish narrator-this is a suspenseful, diverting debut.” (People)

“Dubow writes with a kind of urgency that grabs you by the pajamas and won’t let go. Indiscretion is a page-turner of high style.” (Washington Independent Review of Books)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1st edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062201050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062201058
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (352 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Dubow was born in New York City and spent his summers at his family's house on Georgica Pond in East Hampton. He was educated at Wesleyan University and New York University. He has worked as a roustabout, a lumberjack, a sheepherder in New Zealand, and a congressional aide, and was a founding editor of and later an editor at He lives in New York City with his wife, Melinda; children, William and Lally; and Labrador retriever, Luke. This is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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75 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Wanda B. Red VINE VOICE on November 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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52 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Mr. August VINE VOICE on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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.
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