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In American Woman, a 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Choi wraps a complex narrative around young radicals engaged in bomb making. In her last novel, PEN/Faulkner finalist A Person of Interest, a bombing sets the tone and introduces us to the pathology of a troubled mathematics professor. Now, in her fourth novel, bombs continue going off, but this time in terms of triangular carnal lust. Promising graduate student Regina Gottlieb finds herself attracted to her libertine professor, Nicholas Brodeur. However, at a Dionysian dinner party at Nicholas's house, Regina instead becomes physically entangled with Nicholas's wife, Martha. Finding herself caught in a relationship with Martha, ensnared in the drama of a broken marriage, and questioning her own scholarly ambitions, Regina sees her world beginning to explode. VERDICT As with her previous novels, Choi's talent resides in her densely layered prose and her slowing down the pace to draw readers into the inner worlds of her characters. The result is a deeply human tale of intentional mistakes, love and lust, and the search for a clearer vision of one's self. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/13.]-Joshua Finnell, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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The throes of an obsessive relationship allow a young graduate student to avoid growing up for a little while in Choi's dark and stormy fourth novel (following A Person of Interest). Regina Gottlieb, anxious about being a new student in a prestigious graduate English program, finds a welcome distraction in Nicholas Brodeur, her seminar professor. His offer of a TA position calms her fears of inadequacy, and even Regina's roommate, Daniel Dutra, a med student and born eccentric, approve of the connection. Despite Nicholas's good looks and the rumors about his raffish ways on campus, Regina is able to keep a personal distance from him. It's different, however, when she meets his wife, Martha, during a party at the Brodeurs' house. The two women soon embark on a torrid, all-consuming affair, with Regina measuring her days in a toxic swirl of hours in Martha's bed and at a local bar. Even as Regina loses her way, though, the narrative never lacks direction. Choi keeps the moments between her characters believable while building momentum toward the illicit lovers' inevitable falling-out. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In September 1992, 21-year-old Regina Gottlieb begins graduate school at an elite East Coast university. She is immediately intrigued by charismatic literature professor Nicholas Brodeur, whose seductive reputation precedes him. Though she is fascinated by Nicholas, it is Nicholas' remote, mercurial wife, Martha, who inspires an overwhelming passion in Regina. After sharing a charged kiss at a dinner party, Regina pursues Martha with a dogged relentlessness and throws herself into the affair with all the exuberance of youth. Although Martha tries to conceal the relationship from Nicholas and the nanny who helps care for their son, Joachim, Regina is reckless and angry that Martha won't plan a future with her. PEN/W. G. Sebald Award winner Choi (A Person of Interest, 2008) eventually moves the story ahead by 15 years, allowing Regina to view the consequences of her actions from a decidedly more mature perspective. With a sharp eye and piercing insights, Choi captures the heady romanticism that infuses a youthful love affair before the responsibilities and realities of adulthood set in. This is a masterful coming-of-age novel.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2010 Booklist