Outside the Ordinary World
Mira, Jul 27 2010, $14.95
Landscape artist Sylvia grew up detesting her mother Elaine’s extramarital affairs as much as mom’s bouts of religious fervor. Sylvia had no empathy towards her cheating mom until recently.
Raising two children (Hannah and Emma) while teaching art at workshops, Sylvia is bored with her sexless marriage with Nathan, her failed painting career, and even with her two kids. When she meets Tai, father of a student of hers, she is attracted to him. As she considers to tryst or not to tryst, she looks back to her childhood when her mom combined affairs with self-righteous piety and her father's brutality that led to the final tragic schism.
Rotating viewpoint between Sylvia in the present and Elaine three decades ago, Outside The Ordinary World is an engaging character study. Sylvia has begun to appreciate what her mom went through as she considers an extramarital affair though turning deeply devout at the same time seems too hypocritical to her. Both women are flawed, but readers will somewhat empathize with mom, but not with the daughter. This strong family drama makes it seem history is son ready to repeat itself.