Mis­tress who misses be­ing Mrs

Irish Daily Mail - - It’s Friday! - SARA LAWRENCE

ACTS OF IN­FI­DELITY by Lena An­der­s­son

(Pi­cador €18.10) I HAVEN’T been able to stop think­ing about this truly stun­ning read.

When play­wright Ester meets Olof — an ac­tor in her play about a man trapped in an un­happy mar­riage who meets an­other woman, but won’t leave his wife — she falls madly in love.

Life im­i­tates art as they be­gin a re­la­tion­ship.

Olof in­sists that he won’t get di­vorced. But his ac­tions — meet­ing her for sex and or­gan­is­ing dates — sug­gest oth­er­wise. To Ester, any­way.

She pores ob­ses­sively over his com­mu­ni­ca­tions, analysing the words, tone and length of time to re­ply as if she is con­duct­ing re­search.

There is no doubt­ing Ester’s in­tel­li­gence — ex­cept in re­la­tion to Olof. But, ev­ery time she’s had enough, he throws her a crumb of hope.

Years of more lows than highs pass and Ester re­alises she has be­come a mis­tress.

It’s so in­sid­i­ous and cal­cu­lated, and this in­tel­lec­tual gi­ant of a woman so blind to re­al­ity, that I wanted to shake her. End­less wis­dom and el­e­gance — buy im­me­di­ately.

KISMET by Luke Tred­get

(Faber €15.65) THIS cri­tique of our over-reliance on tech­nol­ogy and what it means when a match­mak­ing app re­places tra­di­tional dat­ing is an­other blinder.

Anna is a 29-year-old jour­nal­ist who isn’t sure her boyfriend is ‘the one’.

She down­loads Kismet, an on­line dat­ing tool that gives ev­ery po­ten­tial part­ner­ship a rat­ing based on a com­pli­cated com­pat­i­bil­ity al­go­rithm, to see if she can find some­one with a higher score.

In this recog­nis­able, yet ter­ri­fy­ingly mass-ad­dicted, world, ev­ery­one has ei­ther met their part­ner on Kismet or is look­ing for one there. The col­lec­tive ob­ses­sion with a high score means any match who doesn’t come with a top rat­ing at­tached is dis­carded with­out an­other glance.

Then Anna meets an 81 — the high­est num­ber she’s ever heard of. Rather than fo­cus on chem­istry and how he makes her feel, ev­ery time she looks at him, she sees an 81 flash­ing above his head and dis­counts any doubts.

YOU ME EV­ERY­THING by Cather­ine Isaac

(Si­mon & Schus­ter €15.65) FANS of Jojo Moyes’s mul­ti­mil­lion-sell­ing Me Be­fore You will adore this sim­i­larly heart-warm­ing and heart­break­ing read.

Pro­tag­o­nist Jes­sica is only 22 when she has her un­planned, but wholly adored, son Wil­liam. But her re­la­tion­ship with boyfriend Adam doesn’t sur­vive much beyond the labour ward, thanks to him stag­ger­ing in stink­ing of booze and cov­ered in lip­stick.

Jes­sica never feels like a sin­gle mother be­cause her par­ents are al­ways there, dis­pens­ing prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port. Fast­for­ward ten years, though, and her beloved mum is di­ag­nosed with an in­cur­able dis­ease.

When she sug­gests Jes­sica and Wil­liam spend the sum­mer at Adam’s house in France, Jes­sica re­luc­tantly agrees to go. She knows her son needs to build a re­la­tion­ship with his fa­ther — es­pe­cially given the big se­cret she’s har­bour­ing.

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