Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Uncoupling Hardcover – April 5, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
The latest from Wolitzer (The Ten Year Nap) is a plodding story with a killer hook: will the women of Stellar Plains, N.J., ever have sex again? After new high school drama teacher Fran Heller begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the women of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War), every girl and woman in the community is overcome by a "spell" that causes them to lose all desire for sex. No one is immune, not Dory Lang and her husband, Robby, the most popular English teachers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School; not Leanne Bannerjee, the beautiful school psychologist; or the overweight college counselor Bev Cutler, shackled to a callous hedge-fund manager husband. The Langs' teenaged daughter, Willa, who eventually lands the lead in the play, is also afflicted, wreaking havoc on her relationship with Fran's son, Eli. Despite the great premise and Wolitzer's confident prose, the story never really picks up any momentum, and the questions posed—about parenthood, sacrifice, expectations, and the viability of long-term relationships in the age of Twitter—are intriguing but lack wallop. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Life begins to imitate art when Stellar Plains� edgy new drama teacher decides to stage Lysistrata as the high school�s annual production. Faculty, administrators, and students alike are literally enchanted by Aristophanes� mordant antiwar comedy. Women and girls who are otherwise happily married or in a blossoming relationship suddenly decide to withhold their affections from their husbands, lovers, and boyfriends. The once passionate sex life of popular English teachers Robby and Dory Lang abruptly ends, as does the nascent relationship of their daughter Willa, who sharply breaks up with her first boyfriend. Most affected of all, however, is Marissa Clayborn, the charismatic young black girl cast in the play�s lead, who decides to stage her own �bed-in� sex strike in protest of the war in Afghanistan. When Marissa fails to appear on opening night, all hell breaks loose as spurned men storm the stage demanding the resumption of normal relations. While zestfully exploring the nexus between complacency and desire, Wolitzer�s hip, glib, impish scenario shrewdly examines the intricate connections between war and sex and perceptively illuminates the power of timeless literature. --Carol Haggas
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
It has some perceptive and provocative insights into the nature of desire itself: what is desire, anyway? How does it change between the heady times of first love and the more mundane times of adulthood? Can a relationship sustain itself when desire flees?
The book unfolds around the classic and comic play Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes - a tale of women of Greece who determined to withhold sex as a way to end the lengthy Peloponnesian War. Around the same time that the new drama teacher at Eleanor Roosevelt High School chooses the play, the women of Stellar Plains, New Jersey mysteriously and suddenly turn from their husbands, boyfriends, and lovers, no longer wanting to engage in sex.
The "stunning bolt of cold air" -- which is the harbinger for the lack of desire - the enchantment and spell - is somewhat evocative of Alice Hoffman's writings. One by one, the women succumb to it - Dory Lang, who suddenly begins making excuses to her cherished spouse...Bev,an overweight guidance counselor who is smarting over a careless weight-focused remark by her husband...Leanne, a beautiful and definitely non-monogamous school psychologist who loses all interest...Ruth, the ex-lesbian gym teacher and harried young mother who feels sex has become an obligatory date...and last of all, Willa, Dory's daughter, who is the throes of first love.
Had The Uncoupling focused on the question asked by Bev ( "I keep thinking, how did this happen? For a long time, it wasn't like this) or Leanne (""Is the choice in life to either have some overly intense and basically impractical relationships with men or else to settle down?") or even the musings of Dory (""Maybe sex doesn't even belong to us anymore. It belongs mostly to the kids, and we're just hanging around too long"), this might have been a stronger book.
But Ms. Wolitzer chooses to go with a magical realism overlay, distancing the reader from the characters and adding a layer of comedy to the very real issues of adults and teenager struggling to maintain intimacy in the wake of young family obligations, perimenopause, and day-to-day stresses. The boundaries of believability are stretched at the end in ways that will become apparent to a new reader. The Uncoupling is built upon an irresistible premise and written in a breezy tone that somehow, falls a little flat.
Bottom line: Super idea, mediocre execution.
By the time I got to the fourth woman, I really did not care what any of them did.
Meg Wolitzer is better with short stories -- her first novel The Interestings was labored, unbelievable, and equally tedious.
She tries to develop and/or create interesting characters by detailing their psychological make-ups -- but she does not allow readers to discover much for themselves.
I will not be reading any of her work in the future.
I was disappointed by the way that the spell was resolved, with a highly dramatic, very quick ending. It felt deflating after all of the good work and good writing that had been done to understand and express the complex emotions of these women and men. It would have been more rewarding to continue the individual perspectives in more detail and explore the emotions more fully as they recovered. Possibly it would have been a longer book, however it is a good book so you'd be happy to read it.
My other criticism is a plot line that seems half baked. Lysistrata is an expression of anti-war sentiments as well as an exploration of relationships. Uncoupling pulls the anti-war element in with a character that had recently been a local high school student, went off to war, and returned home with a life changing injury and a failed relationship. This character makes a brief appearance, something to the effect of war is bad/people get hurt/we shouldn't have war is expressed in a few pages, another character stages a protest, and the war veteran character falls out of the story shortly thereafter. Serious consideration of this topic requires moving beyond slogans and protests and individual tragedies however awful, to understanding the principles of just war, even if you choose to reject them entirely, as well as analyzing every situation. This would have been a better book if the author had fleshed out this analysis more fully or skipped this Lysistrata hook entirely.