In this second novel of his trilogy, Richard Matturro returns to his ongoing themes: amusement parks and romantic love. This time, it's not a male, but a female in mid-life crisis. Leslie takes leave from her public library job to drive solo across the country, forging an old fashioned quest (modeled in part on Homer's The Odyssey) for a lost love from her teenage job at an amusement park. Marvelous sleuthing and surprise coincidences await both Leslie and the reader.
ISBN: 978-1-60489-002-0 Library Binding $26
ISBN: 978-1-60489-003-7 Trade Paper $15.95
Richard Matturro, a native of Rye, New York, holds a doctorate in English with a specialization in Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. After sixteen years at the Albany Times Union, he now teaches in the English Department at UAlbany and lives on an old farm in the foothills of the Berkshires. Leslie is his third novel.
From the Book:
. “Do you like to dance?”
The three black-suited gentlemen had just begun a maudlin version of “Yesterday.” With his hand at my back Karl led me to the floor. I thought about how odd our customs are that a grown woman should be guided across the room as if she were likely to get lost en route. What prompted this thought was the undeniable pleasure I felt at being led, at feeling his hand on me. He might have been an axe murderer for all I knew, or a German terrorist, but as he held me in his arms and we glided about the floor in that curious, limited intimacy, I felt an unwarranted calm. Halfway through the song Karl dropped my right hand and put both his arms around my waist, leaving me no option but to slip both mine around his neck. He held me closer in this position, our bodies touching down to the knees. After a few moments I felt what a bad novelist would call Karl’s “manhood” stiffen and poke against my thigh.
When the song was over and the musicians took a break, Karl invited me to join him in the corner booth, a nook presided over by a two-foot-tall Venus de Milo bathed in blue luminescence. He ordered another round of drinks, and in the silence that ensued I realized that I was compiling arguments in my mind why it would be good for me to take him home. This was to be the beginning of a new life, after all, and it had been a while since I’d been with a man. It would be perfectly safe as long as I took reasonable precautions. He seemed normal enough, and dancing with him that close had been very¾. I stopped myself.
“What do you do, Karl, when you’re not in bars picking up strange women?”
“Are you a strange woman?”
“You don’t know the half of it.”
He grinned. “I work for an architectural firm.”
“Do you design houses?”
“Only ones made out of air. Unfortunately, they’re precisely the ones I want to live in. But what I get paid for is generally shopping malls.”
“Still, that sounds interesting.”
“It wouldn’t if you knew that my specialty was service corridors. How about you? What do you do?”
“I’m a librarian.”
“No, no. It’s just that you don’t look like a librarian.”
I have of course been through this before. No profession has a more rigid stereotype than mine: a spinster with bony fingers, spectacles, hair in bun, and a pinched expression like she just sniffed the cat box.
“You must like to read,” he concluded.
“No, I hate reading. I’ve given it up altogether.”
He snorted. “Well, I’ll admit that most of what I read these days is science fiction. Where do you work?”
“Troy Public. At least I did work there until today.”
“Not exactly. I’m on a leave of absence.”
“Really? For how long?”
“What are you going to do?”
“Travel, I think.”