By Mark McKenna on Goodreads, posted 5/16/11:
‘Green is a delightful book. Written by Ted Krever, it’s a smart, witty and wise look at love later in life by a writer who’s . . . well, later in life. Green couldn’t have been written by a younger man; there’s too much hard-won wisdom in its pages.
Fifty-something Paul Roget has been invited to Ireland by his college friend, Emily Ormond. Paul is a former on-air celebrity–a business news reporter who’s been out of work for a year. Paul is currently repping the “Getaway Bed,” an eleven-thousand dollar sleeping environment being marketed as an antidote to stress in a post 9/11 world. Paul does manage to sell the Getaway Bed franchise–and meets one of the book’s most fascinating characters in the process–but the bed is only an amusing sub-plot.
Green is not about beds or bed salesmanship; it’s about love. In fact, there’s so much love in the air that–just like the beautiful light in Ireland–every character seems bathed in it.
First, Emily and Paul have an attraction, a push-pull that has existed since their college days. Emily herself is wondering if she might be gay and has a giddy, stammering crush on an art dealer named “Maeve” who’s sexual preference is, as the novel begins, unknown. Then there’s Malcolm Lowell. Malcolm is Emily’s “horse landlord,” a world-famous rider, a dashing Colonel in the Irish Defense Forces and, initially, Paul’s rival. Malcolm is also steadfastly in love with Emily and is waiting patiently for her to realize it and fall into his arms. And then Paul meets Jillian: a poet, a barmaid, an anti-war activist, and a bold, challenging woman who beguiles him as much as the beauty of Ireland is starting to do. And, they’re off!
Well . . . not really.
If I’ve made Green sound like a bodice-ripping romance novel, I apologize. It’s not. Green rests solidly in the literary novel genre.
Ted Krever’s characters have all been wounded, but they carry their wounds with them in their search for love and happiness. Emily has survived the death of her husband, Devon. A beautiful woman, she’s also a cancer survivor. Here she talks about life after chemo.
“I just don’t want the sex, which is the only thing anyone thinks of. But I wanted to be wanted. Doesn’t everyone? I’ve put so much of myself into…this,” she ran her hands across her shoulders and breasts, her belly and hips and thighs.
“Desire. It’s the most powerful constant, more than money or power or love. Anticipation’s better than reality, over and over. And I’m going to have to give it up—soon. Women’s bodies wear out faster than men’s. I might be a better person when it’s gone—but I don’t really believe that. And I surely won’t be the same. It’s my power. No one gives up power in this world voluntarily. Not countries. Not people. No one.”
Paul’s romance with Jillian is central to the tale. In this passage, he is leaving her apartment at dawn.
“I spotted the signs before reaching Jill’s front door. Alongside the radical’s library—Marcuse! Das Kapital with pages thumbed and notes scribbled in margins!—two pair of jeans way too big for her perched atop the laundry bin; a pile of music magazines sprawled across the cheap coffee table. I wasn’t checking—they were just there. There was another man who made himself comfortable in this apartment. It was the reason she’d dragged me through the living room when we first came in.
I held back the protest inside—what was the point? It was just one more place in life where I had no say. She was funny, lovely, uninhibited and skilled at charming and juggling the attentions of all things male. I’d had my romantic dream; now here was reality. I pulled the door closed and marched up the hill toward Em’s house.
Violet light seeped through morning fog.
Green is funny, too. Krever has done a wonderful job with the descriptions of Ireland. Here’s a small village market:
The packages on these shelves were simple and functional, designed by some underpaid artist in a back-room instead of an army of marketers and seven terabytes of extrapolated focus groups. The milk in the stand-up refrigerator said ‘Lisheen Creamery’ above a simple line drawing of the bridge at the center of town. Chrome and glass cabinets displayed fresh-cut meat and cheese. Next to these bits, American produce looked cartoonishly unnatural, inflated helium and candlewax, hype and hubris. I wondered how expensive it would be to go vegan when I got home.
Green is a charming book. Ted Krever writes with a sure hand and a light touch. The lightness, love and witty dialog made me think of A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, so I can heartily recommend Green to anyone who enjoys a rich love story — and feels like taking an armchair trip to Ireland.’
So, someone’s compared me to Shakespeare – I can die happy. If you want to die happy too (and only a couple of dollars lighter in the wallet), get your own copy here:
Green at Amazon: for Kindle
Green at Smashwords: for all other ebooks
Trade Paperback will be available on Amazon by the end of the week, I swear…