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Games To Play After Dark (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – May 3, 2011
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“Deserves to become a classic. . . . The careful crafting of this story, the diligent attention to detail and the intelligent sense of the complexities of the closest of family relationships make Games to Play After Dark an astonishingly mature achievement for a first-time novelist. It’s a book that bears rereading and thinking about, and Sarah Gardner Borden is certainly one of the new writers to watch.” —The Washington Times
“In her searing, un-put-downable debut novel, Sarah Gardner Borden brilliantly explores the darkest corners of family life.” —Marie Claire
“Games to Play After Dark springs from the gate at a rapid clip . . . effectively conveys the unrelenting nature of the crush of days that spread out before the protagonist like so much housework in need of tending. . . . Like its predecessors—Revolutionary Road and The Awakening alike—Games to Play After Dark offers an unflinching glimpse into the secret desperation of the American mother. As moving as it is disturbing, Ms. Borden’s debut is, above all, honest. With any luck, we’ll get a lot more of the same from this talented novelist in the coming years.” —New York Journal of Books
“Sarah Gardner Borden’s exciting novel reads like a thriller, but it is the menacing nature of the very ordinary that is so scary here. She gets underneath the mundane details of everyday life—All that stuff! The chores! The driving!—and reveals the real mess our expectations and desires can get us into. Kate, at the center, is deftly and affectionately drawn. The writing is confident, sharp, and exhilarating. This is an impressive debut.” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of In Country
“An unsparingly honest portrait of one marriage’s devolution into train wreck. Borden covers it all—from the resentments that build over childcare to the sex that’s no longer fun. Reading Games to Play After Dark is as intimate an experience as reading someone’s diary.” —Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of I’m So Happy for You and What She Saw. . .
“Games to Play After Dark at first disguises itself as a story of bright young love, until Kate and Colin's marriage changes, delicately and inexorably, from a charmed union into something dark and somehow unavoidable. Sarah Gardner Borden's debut is captivating and deftly rendered—a layered, disquieting examination of family life.” —Michelle Wildgen, author of But Not For Long and You're Not You
“Brilliantly structured and impossible to put down, Games to Play After Dark is the story of a young wife and mother who struggles earnestly, messily, even violently, to understand her own discontent with a seemingly ideal existence. The novel catches you up on Kate's troubled past just as that past catches up with Kate, so by the end you feel the full force of that collision: powerful, hopeful, unforgettable.” —Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This
About the Author
Sarah Gardner Borden holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of journals, including Open City, Willow Springs, the Chicago Reader, Other Voices, Literary Mama, and the New Haven Review. She lives in Brooklyn.
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It is a great book that read likes a thriller and it is impossible to put down(as long as you have half a brain!) Kate's inner thoughts are intriguing and haunting at once. Its dark and wonderfully written. Excellent!
Kate and Colin's early years are relatively smooth, the urgencies of new love hiding a multitude of small cracks, flaws easily rectified in the marital bed. Kate likes to play a little rough, Colin happy to oblige. But two daughters later the couple's spontaneity is regularly disturbed by the burgeoning demands of motherhood and domesticity, homemaking a territory fraught with conflict, either a noble effort on behalf of family or a dark hole where individuality is consumed by the demands of others. As Gardner Borden so aptly illustrates, the truth is that both conditions coexist. It is the contemporary woman's job to find a way to thrive within the construct, one which robs her of singular ambitions but feeds her rich and gooey helpings of children's unconditional adoration. Not so much with husbands.
The troubled relationship with Professor Allison insinuates itself into Kate's daily discontent, poisoning her commitment to and affection for Colin, manifesting in the screeching internal voices of "the Valeries" (an exquisite example of a female interpretation of myth). Throughout, the author has her finger directly on the pulse of the modern woman's existential dilemma, a landscape routinely breached by anti-feminists in an effort to quell as rising tide of consciousness. The inherent violence of the struggle between men and women simmers, near-boiling; once the genie escapes, no amount of feigned domesticity can disguise the rift. Any female who reads this novel and can't relate to Kate's dilemma is either sleepwalking, purposefully unaware, or living in circumstances that deny choice. There is power in storytelling, this novel a brave foray into a murky land where the Furies do battle with Fate, a conflict bravely articulated by a writer who is neither combative nor brittle in defense of her protagonist, as Kate finds the truth of her experience. Luan Gaines/2011.