Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello to this author of 'Good-bye'

I just love it when I'm reading a novel and come across a line that makes me stop and say, "I've felt that way, too (just not so eloquently phrased)."

I had that feeling a lot while reading "The Language of Good-bye," Maribeth Fischer's debut novel.

Good-bye focuses on three couples. There's Annie and Carter, Will and Kayla and Sungae and Keehwan. Annie and Will have left their spouses to pursue a relationship with each other. Sungae is both Kayla's bakery employee and Annie's English as a second language student. She and her husband have their own set of barriers to overcome.

Fischer manages to craft a story that leaves you liking all of them - or at least understanding situations from their perspective. When the spouses who left wonder what would have happened had they stayed, when the spouses who were left wonder if they should have fought for their relationship, when they each weigh duty and desire - the reader is with them all.

Fischer succeeds because none of her characters is one-dimensional. The good guys have some bad points, the bad guys have some good qualities. And they all struggle.

Just like us readers in our own lives.

This may have been Fischer's first work, but I hope it's not her last.

- Tricia Ambrose


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