The Late, Lamented Molly Marx: A Novel by Sally Koslow (Ballantine Books, May 19, 2009), 320 pages
Molly Marx, 35-year-old New Yorker and freelance stylist, is dead. In the first chapter we meet her, newly arrived in the Duration, and her host of family and friends, at her funeral. The book follows her; her husband, plastic surgeon Barry Marx; and her 3-year-old daughter Annabel Marx, in addition to her friends and the rest of her family as NYPD detective Hiawatha Hicks tries to solve the mystery of Molly Marx’s death. Was it suicide? Murder? An accident? Chapters of the aftermath of her death are interspersed with those from beforehand that tell the backstory.
This is, essentially, the story line that convinced me I wanted to read this book. What I wasn’t told, and didn’t like, is that in life both she and her husband are cheating. I really do not appreciate books that center around extramarital affairs.
The cover conveyed pure chick-lit; the author said the book (according to Ballantine) is at “the nexus of literary fiction and commercial women’s fiction. I don’t know about commercial fiction, but I’m getting pretty convinced that I don’t enjoy women’s fiction. I’ve read two books, both recently, that have been labeled as women’s fiction, and I disliked both of them. (The other being Best Intentions by Emily Listfield.) Is it merely a coincidence that both books of women’s fiction that I’ve read are set in Manhattan? The mystery was a more active part of this story than it was in Best Intentions; this I liked. I might also quibble (albeit minorly) with the label of literary fiction. I simply didn’t find this book to fit with the other works of literary fiction I’ve read.
In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even finished reading this book if I hadn’t been flying at the time (with access to only this book for the duration of the flight, and even after landing, a limited book selection).
In general, I think this book will fade away; it would probably be an enjoyable read for those who enjoy women’s fiction, though.
Sally Koslow is also the author of Little Pink Slips.
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