Leslie Lehr Spirson's first novel is an old-fashioned morality tale set in contemporary suburban Los Angeles. At the age of 32, Audrey Hastings appears to have it all: a hunky, attentive husband, Jim; a sweet and precocious daughter; a comfortable house with a "small, but perfect" yard. Yet out in the pool where she swims her daily mile, Audrey allows her thoughts to roam below the placid surface of her life, where they linger upon the daily frustrations and insecurities that rapidly conspire to threaten her marriage.
No sooner has she discovered her first gray hairs and tiny crows feet than Audrey begins to suspect Jim of having an affair with his twentysomething assistant, Kim: "Am I sharing him? Did these hands touch her? Is he fighting to keep my name at his lips?" Wounded and obsessed, she strikes up a flirtation with a handsome grad student and soon dives headfirst into a fling of her own. Although Audrey believes that there is hope for her marriage, the fallout from her affair is irreversible and nightmarish, and she ultimately learns that betrayal begins not with the body, but in the mind.
Written in vivid prose and punchy, abbreviated chapters, 66 Laps infuses a familiar domestic landscape with intensity and suspense, focusing on the private moments of satisfaction and doubt that define--and disturb--married life. --Svenja Soldovieri
From Publishers Weekly
Audrey Hastings is a stay-at-home mom who swims a mile--66 laps--every day. For the heroine of screenwriter Spirson's fast-paced first novel, swimming is both refuge and release from the anxiety she feels when her husband, Jim, an art director of TV commercials, takes on a new assistant, Kim. A younger, more attractive version of 32-year-old Audrey, Kim stops by the house frequently, and one day she happens to leave her sunglasses by the pool; soon enough, Audrey suspects an extramarital affair. Further troubled by new gray hairs and a body she is sure is aging too quickly, Audrey finds herself sorely tempted by a young grad student she meets while at the beach with her toddler, Gina. To get back at her husband, and after a too-quick moral stocktaking, Spirson's Everywoman begins an affair of her own. For a while, Audrey feels younger, revitalized, but soon her grad student turns obsessive--and, worse, Audrey discovers she is pregnant. Jim realizes the baby isn't his, and the story line shifts from comedy to tragedy, with Gina cast in the role of innocent victim. If this sounds like a made-for-TV movie, that might not be an accident. Like all screen-ready novels, this one comes equipped with witty dialogue, a lean plot and a few terrific one-liners ("Some women marry the answer to their dreams: I married the antidote to my nightmares"), though some of the prose falls flat ("I looked heavenward for respite"). This novel, picked by John Dufresne for a 1998 Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Award, perfectly mirrors its southern California setting. Though slickly composed and smoothly engaging, on closer inspection, it lacks real substance. Agent, Deborah Grosvenor.
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