Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Pregnant Widow-Martin Amis

The Pregnant Widow
Martin Amis
Morrow, May 11 2020, $26.95
ISBN: 9781400044528

In the summer of 1970, college students were touring Europe. Keith and Lily are in Italy with her tall friend Scheherazade and a third female Gloria. However, the amiable relationship between Lily and Keith begins to crack when she concludes that her boyfriend desires her friend and perhaps their other companion more than her.

Ironically Gloria also a beauty seems willing to sack with Keith while Scheherazade appears out of his reach. Lily increasingly realizes she cannot compete with either of the beautiful girls for Keith’s attention though she allows him sexual pleasures when she is not teasing him. With Lily torturing him with on and off sex, and Gloria apparently willing to have sex, Keith’s lofty goal for the summer remains climbing Scheherazade.

Although the pivot that keeps the story line anchored is how far women came due to the sexual revolution of the early 1970s caused by medical advances (some will say subtractions), The Pregnant Widow is more a treatise than a straight forward tale. Character driven by the traveling troupe, but with a deep look at religion and culture during the beginnings of radical change leading to “You’ve come a long way baby”, this is a profound but not an easy read. Martin Amis using flashbacks proves his belief that the sexual revolution dramatically changed life as few events in recorded history have.

Harriet Klausner

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