The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

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The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A spell threads its way through town and women find their husbands' and boyfriends' touches repulsive. Brilliant writing and insightful.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0701186210

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Dory and Robby Lang had one of those marriages that everyone envies. They're not just lovers, they're best friends too and they never seem to tire of each other. They're both popular teachers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School ('Elro' to those who know it well) where their daughter is a student. It's sometimes difficult to have your parent teaching at your school, but everything seems to rub along reasonably well and Dory was delighted when daughter Willa got a part in the school play. It's Lysistrata and whilst the drama teacher has to tone it down a little it still the play about the women who refuse to have sex with their men until they call a halt to the war they're fighting.

Now here's a strange thing: a spell is going to spread through the town and the women will find the touch of their husbands – or boyfriends – repulsive and there will be no more sex. That's no just no more sex until… – it's no more sex. Dory and Robby are one of the first to be affected.

For quite a while now one of our reviewers has been telling me that I really must read Meg Wolitzer. My reading experience would not be complete until I had done so. When The Uncoupling arrived the time was obviously ripe. So, what did I think of it?

The book started with something of a disadvantage. The Sunday Times is quoted as saying that Wolitzer could describe paint drying and make it funny. Now, I didn't find it that funny. I thought it was provocative and delightfully insightful about how men and women relate to each other. I loved the characters – particularly Dory Lang who might be an excellent teacher but is still just a little bit too much the mother on occasions and Willa, her daughter. The women are stronger than the men, but with as good a writer as Wolitzer, such matters are relative. She has the marvellous talent of writing about ordinary people – and letting them be gloriously ordinary.

My only reservation is with the plot and I'm quite prepared to accept that it's me being unreasonable. I didn't like the device of the spell which spreads through the town. It felt contrived and leant just a little too much towards fantasy for my taste. If you think that wouldn't worry you then add half a star.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We've a few reviews of Meg Wolitzer's books and I think most people are going to love them. If you've rad them all, then you'll almost certainly enjoy Anita Shreve.

Buy The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer at Amazon.com.


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Kerry King said:

Hurray! You’ve joined the club!

I love her. A brilliant writer, a clever, canny woman with a keen eye and a rapier wit…. What a fabulous combination. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this to add to my collection.