Read Close Relations Online

Authors: Susan Isaacs

Close Relations (43 page)

“I know what you’re going to say,” I said to him. “That I’m tired, cranky from the pregnancy, and all that. Depressed over the election. You don’t have to say it.”

“I wasn’t going to.” David leaned against a parked car.

“What were you going to say then? That I shouldn’t be rude to my cousin? That I should ask my mother what wine the Baroness serves with the meat course, just to humor her?”

“No. They’re your relatives. You can treat them however you wish.”

“Well?”

“Well, as you’ve been saying, you’re thirty-five years old. I’m not going to try to tell you what you should feel, how you should behave.” I pulled my eyes from his stare and examined the sidewalk. “You say it isn’t going to work,” he added.

“David.” I looked up at him.

“What is it?”

“I love you. I love you very much.”

“Come here.” I leaned against him. He put his hand on the back of my head and smoothed my hair. “It’s okay now. Stop shaking. You’ve said it, Marcia. It’s out.”

“David, I’ve never said ‘I love you’ before. Not just to you. To anyone. Did you know that? You’re the first person I’ve ever truly loved. And you’re the first person who ever truly loved me.”

“But you say it won’t work.”

“They get to me. They undermine me.”

“Stop that. They can’t do anything to you unless you let them. Think about it, Marcia. In all the time we’ve been together, have we ever discussed caterers?”

“No.”

“Have we ever spent more than one second more than we had to with that dreadful decorator?” I shook my head. “And have I ever even hinted that I’d rather you spent your time making wonton soup or whatever instead of writing? Have I? Marcia, they have very little to do with us. We have everything to do with each other.”

My arms wrapped around him. “I really love you. You don’t know.”

“I do know,” he said. “And I also know you’re going to make me a wonderful wife. And do you want to know something else? I’m going to be a superb husband. You and I are going to be very, very happy.”

“I know, David.”

He kissed me. “I know you know.”

Acknowledgments

I sought advice from the people listed below and they gave it freely and cheerfully. I appreciate their generosity.

Janice Asher, Dejon Coffin, Edmond Coller, Ruth Coller, Anne M. Grand, Patricia Hynes, T. Barry Kingham, Edward Lane, Mark BvS Monsky, Bernard Nussbaum, Winston Paley, and Paul K. Rooney.

I would also like to thank my favorite critics—Arnold Abramowitz, Consuelo Saah Baehr, Mary Rooney, Lisa Cronin Wohl, Hilma Wolitzer, and Susan Zises—my agent, Gloria Safier, and my editor, Larry Ashmead, for their wisdom, faith, and unstinting good humor.

And special thanks to Elkan, Andrew, and Elizabeth Abramowitz.

About the Author

SUSAN ISAACS
has written eleven novels, including her latest,
Past Perfect.
Her other bestselling books include
After All These Years, Compromising Positions, Shining Through, Magic Hour, Close Relations, Almost Paradise,
and
Lily White.
She lives on Long Island.

Visit www.AuthorTracker.com for exclusive information on your favorite HarperCollins author.

Author’s Note
How I Came to
Close Relations

Before I turned to fiction, I had two jobs: as an editor at
Seventeen
magazine (where I also wrote advice to the lovelorn) and as a freelance political speechwriter. I’ve always had a wide range of interests, from politics, film, baseball, American culture to the more traditional female pursuits of cooking, needlework, and gardening.

My first novel, the satirical whodunit
Compromising Positions,
was such a success (a Book of the Month Club main selection, movie deal, big paperback auction, translated into thirty languages) that the common wisdom was Do It Again. And why not? I loved my housewife-investigator Judith Singer as well as the mystery form. Anyway, if you have a hit, keep swinging the same way your next time at bat.

There was a hitch:
Compromising
was my first attempt at fiction and I had a sense that if I kept to that character and genre, I would wind up twenty or thirty years down the line writing
Compromising Positions Goes Hawaiian.
Not only didn’t I want to fall asleep over the manuscript as I was writing it, I didn’t want my readers to nod off when they sat down with the book.

I decided it wasn’t my job to please my publishers. It was to write the novel I needed to write, which is ultimately the book I most want to read. What was that? Back then, in the late 1970s, as the first thrills and successes of the women’s movement were starting to abate, I decided I wanted to spend the next couple of years thinking about our jobs versus the rest of our lives.

I gave my protagonist, Marcia Green, the work I had once done, political speechwriting. Her candidate is running in the Democratic primary for governor of New York State (as guaranteeing the book would be a comedy), which gave me the terrific opportunity to explore politics—not just the electoral kind, but family politics, ethnic politics, and all the power plays, betrayals, and triumphs that can go on between lovers.

It was Marcia’s life, and I let her set the tone:

My family hated my job. Aunt Estelle had said, “Darling, politics is so unlike you. All those loudmouths and lower-class lawyers. They’re beneath you. I know deep down you realize it. Roosevelt was a politician. So was Kennedy—Harriman. Marcia, sweetheart, they were statesmen. We’re talking New York City now, and you know as well as I do that no one you come in contact with is interested in real elegance.”

As usual, my mother had let a refined sigh escape through the delicate hole in her pursed lips and then had noted that I seemed to spend a lot of time catering to people in slums.

Uncle Julius had muttered that politicians wouldn’t know a nice girl if they fell over her.

Cousin Barbara was thrilled that I was fulfilled,
but hinted I might combine my career with marriage and children for even deeper fulfillment.

It was a situation from which half-hour television comedies are made.
“Marcia!
In tonight’s episode, Marcia Green’s warm and winning and wise and wonderful Jewish family reminds her that she is thirty-five, divorced and childless.”

Did I miss the security of writing a sequel to a big success? Sure, but
Close Relations
turned out to be a bestseller. Even better, I gave myself a chance to grow in my craft and had a hell of a good time in the process.

Other Books By This Author

Books by Susan Isaacs

P
AST
P
ERFECT
A
NY
P
LACE
I H
ANG
M
Y
H
AT
L
ONG
T
IME
N
O
S
EE
R
ED
, W
HITE AND
B
LUE
L
ILY
W
HITE
A
FTER
A
LL
T
HESE
Y
EARS
M
AGIC
H
OUR
S
HINING
T
HROUGH
A
LMOST
P
ARADISE
C
LOSE
R
ELATIONS
C
OMPROMISING
P
OSITIONS

Copyright

A hardcover edition of this book was published in September 1980 by HarperCollins. A rack-size edition of this book was published in February 1992 by Harper Torch.

This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

CLOSE RELATIONS
. Copyright © 1980 by Susan Isaacs.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

EPub Edition © JUNE 2010 ISBN: 978-0-062-03105-1

F
IRST
A
VON PAPERBACK EDITION PUBLISHED 2009
.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.

ISBN 978-0-06-173531-8

09   10   11   12   13        
WBC/RRD
        10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

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