The book’s central time frame is the 1970s, when Bruce takes over a financial consultancy firm founded by his father, and Marisa inherits property. Love, lust and money are what drive them both, until their relationship meets its first challenge. Bruce retreats further into the world of commerce. Marisa’s interests are social and political.
Twenty-five years on from their affair, a chance entry in one of Bruce’s business listings shows that Marisa is now boss of the Rae Agency – a media PR concern. Bruce, as he recollects their tumultuous relationship, is torn between his harmonious family life, and renewing contact with Marisa. Finally, when he does decide on a course of action, he has to face the truth of not having grasped the cultural separation their two different views of the world have wrought over the last quarter century.
A fiery collision of interests, not without its pathos, when Bruce meets Marisa. The former is destined to be head of a financial house founded by his father, for whom the suffragettes, let alone second- and third-wave feminists, might just as well not have happened. The latter is a left-leaning arts polymath, and tags along with Bruce and his patriarchal pronouncements, but only up to a point. It’s debatable whether she manages to teach him anything. A great deal of sumptuous prose is expended throughout this charming novella as Marisa undoubtedly tries. Jack d'Argus
Peter Cowlam is a poet, novelist and playwright. His brief stint as a commissioning editor saw two issues of The Finger, a journal of politics, literature and culture. His novel Who’s Afraid of the Booker Prize? won the 2015 Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction. His latest novels are New King Palmers and Across the Rebel Network, the latter being longlisted for the Guardian 2015 Not the Booker Prize. Poems forthcoming in Fulcrum. Poems and short stories have appeared in The Battersea Review, Literary Matters, The Brown Boat, The Criterion, Valparaiso Fiction Review, The Four Quarters Magazine, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Liberal, Horizon Review and Epicentre Magazine.