Sherry and Narcotics
Future Fiction London, May 1 2011, $14.95
From a wealthy Boston Brahmin family, Mary Cartwright has enjoyed the galas associated with the art world. Now in her late thirties, she lives in London having recently earned a Masters in creative writing that has led to a job at an online essay firm. She also is an alcoholic who intermittently attends AA sessions and needs the equivalent with the men she chooses.
After reading her on line profile, Jake Potter contacts Mary. Though he is married with a child, they exchange emails. She leaves London to be near Jake in Manchester. However, she is a stranger in a strange city and though close to her Jake, he belongs to another woman and a child. She is depressed and all alone.
The key to Sherry’s self destructive addictive behavior is the cold cities unwelcome to a stranger (echoing the Doors Tune People Are Strange), as London and Manchester (and indirectly Boston) come across as cold lonely cement jails for people without family or friends. Sherry has no social network beyond an occasional AA meeting and her fantasy. Not an easy read as the reader feels the gloom and doom while anticipating the crash. Mindful of Preminger’s movie The Man with the Golden Arm starring Sinatra based on Nelson Algren’s novel, Nina-Marie Gardner provides a profound but grim look at urban isolation even with the web’s social networks.