Love in Mid-Air is about Elyse, a married mother of one living in Charlotte, NC with her uncommunicative and often unfeeling husband of ten years. Elyse is unhappy with her marriage to Phil, and embarks on a long-distance affair with a man she met on an airplane. Over the course of about 9 months, her marriage deteriorates further, her affair continues, and Elyse ponders whether or not to leave her husband.
That sounds simple, but it's not. Wright uses the construct of Elyse's three closest friends – Kelly, Nancy and Belinda – as well as Lynn, a divorcee skating the edge of their social circle – to show that marriages (happy or unhappy) can take a lot of different forms. Elyse's inevitable slide into distance and fracture is one model, but her friends' marriages, which are themselves far from perfect, remain intact for their own reasons.
Ultimately, Love in Mid Air is about friendship and loneliness, and the fact that it's close to impossible to view the actions of others without seeing them through the prism of our own lives. Wright's depiction of marriage and the power struggles that go on behind closed doors, whether over sex or money or simply how partners treat each other, is insightful and at times painfully honest. Her writing is sharp and minimal, except for the last ten pages, which are almost dreamlike. I enjoyed this book from page 1, even though it was emotionally intense at times to the point of discomfort.
I am looking forward to hearing what Wright has to say about Love in Mid-Air tomorrow night – I will report back!
(HI FTC! I received a review copy of this book from Hachette as part of my participation in the Manic Mommies Book Club.)