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Layover : a novel /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Random House, 1999
Edition: First edition.
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SUMMARY

Throw aside your idea of a heroine, and meet Claire Newbold. Despite hardship--a young child's death, infertility, an unfaithful husband--wry, ferocious Claire has been trying to soldier on. But then she simply checks out of job and home to confront love and loss on the road. During the leave of absence she takes from her usual life, her behavior ranges from the illicit to--she fears--the deranged. She develops a scam for staying in hotel rooms without paying. She seduces a teenage boy at a hotel swimming pool. Armed with a dangerous amount of medical lore (her husband is a surgeon), she pursues a diagnosis that might explain everything.      Claire even comes to believe that she is clairvoyant--able to "read" the souls of people she encounters on her travels. And eventually she begins to see into her own soul. Some might call her sexual exploits "casual"; to Claire they are anything but. As she struggles to repair her marriage and her life, she surprises herself--and us--by emerging with a new sense of redemption.        Layoveris a provocative, poignant, and entirely assured novel, with an unforgettable heroine at its heart.


Review by Booklist Review

Sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, Zeidner's novel probes the many-layered psyche of a woman stricken with grief over the death of her son and the infidelity of her husband. Claire is a salesperson for a medical supply company, a job that keeps her traveling for days at a time. As she sinks into depression, she finds herself more unwilling to return to her strained marriage, and one day she simply decides not to go back. Living in hotels, ignoring frantic calls from her husband and her therapist, she attempts to come to terms with the disaster that her life has become. Intelligent, sarcastic, and slightly unhinged, Claire is a fascinating character. Zeidner has done a wonderful job of capturing the dark night of the soul that comes to virtually all of us eventually by exploring the depths of Claire's grief and anger without once slipping into melodrama or cliche. --Bonnie Johnston

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

How does a mother cope with the death of her only child? Angry and grieving, medical equipment saleswoman Claire Newbold sheds her identity and becomes homeless. She occupies other people's recently vacated luxury hotel rooms, where she sleeps for hours, blotting out memories of the tragedy. What Claire can't escape are the other components of her past. Cardiothoracic surgeon Ken Leithauser, her husband of 17 years, accuses her of "fuguing out," and begs her forgiveness for his brief affair with a colleague; her clients bemoan her truancy; and her persistent therapist frets about her survival. The thrill of evading hotel security soon fades, leaving Claire vulnerable to chance encounters with little boys who would be the age of her son, had he survived the accident that claimed his life three years earlier. She grows ever more reckless: while stealing a swim in a hotel pool, Claire meets a college freshman, Zachary Davidoff, in town with his recently divorced mother, and seduces him. Posing as a surgeon, Claire wangles dinner with mother and son and hatches a plan to bed the senior Davidoff as well. Ignoring her therapist's advice to return home, Claire cavorts with Zach's father, a sexy lawyer, realizing that robust sex is, for her, a panacea for grief, and staying in his plush bachelor digs while she awaits the results of the test for cancer. Now yearning to see Ken, she saves a youngster's life, and realizes she'll be able to face a future that will always include the pain of loss. In this spirited, original take on the subject of prolonged grief, Zeidner presents a moving portrait of a woman who reclaims her life through passion and humor. An accomplished prose stylist, novelist (Limited Partnerships) and poet (Pocket Sundial), Zeidner skillfully charts the map of Claire's vulnerable heart, eschewing the maudlin. Instead, she offers titillatingÄand sometimes funnyÄsex, and a wicked sendup of contemporary life, deconstructing the men whose professions give them a false sense of aggrandizement and the women who live with them. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Claire Newbold, the maybe-unstable but assertively insightful and articulate narrator of poet/novelist Zeidner's new book, one day flees the pain of her young son's death and the shock of her husband's brief affair by abruptly abandoning husband, work, and home. Trolling from hotel to hotel along her familiar route as a medical equipment salesperson, Claire swims countless laps in too-small pools and reflects vigorously on sex, death, infertility, infidelity, and the enigmatic state of her own body and mind. While her situation is intense and her actions edgyÄsneaking into hotels with unreturned keycards, practicing almost-taboo seductions after 17 years of faithful matrimonyÄClaire's trajectory is oddly appealing, even familiar to any reader caught in the absurd quests demanded by midlife. Warmly recommended for contemporary fiction collections.ÄJanet Ingraham Dwyer, Columbus, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Lisa Zeidner is the author of three novels, most recently Limited Partnerships, and two poetry collections, one of which won the Brittingham Prize. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in many publications, including GQ and The New York Times . She is a professor at Rutgers University and lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with her husband and son.


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