Susan Isaacs Susan Cheever - Essay

Susan Cheever

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Susan Isaacs' second novel Close Relations … focuses on a bright-but-confused woman in her mid-thirties struggling to come to terms with: (a) her commitment to a high-pressure job, speechwriter to William Paterno, president of the council of the City of New York; (b) the kind of sexual appetites which have traditionally been a male prerogative—at least in literature, and (c) a difficult relationship with a gorgeous man who allows her to live with him, but considers marriage out of the question.

The story of Marcia Green is set against a background which is almost a genre by now—the comic Jewish family intent on pressuring her to stop fooling around with that gorgeous creep (needless to say, he's Irish Catholic), and settle down with a nice Jewish boy….

Isaacs deals with this situation with borscht-belt humor which borders on the manic…. She has a lively eye for detail and a tart descriptive style that make this same old story easy to read….

Although the story is punctuated with flashbacks describing a variety of workaday sexual encounters—he did this to me, he did that to me—Marcia's sexual attraction to the gorgeous Jerry Morrissey is both lyrical and funny. Her lust for him, described in language which limns the clichés of male lust, is sad (because you know he doesn't love her) and hilarious (because of Isaac's witty tone)….

She also succeeds in nailing...

(The entire section is 401 words.)