Unhappily Married?

May 14, 2010

Love in Mid Air By Kim Wright

“You always forget this part, that life regenerates itself underground through the winter, that happiness comes back. You forget that your body has the capacity for joy, that it craves it like water. You forget that one thing can end and another can begin. There is always a way out through the broken places…”

Forty-something Elyse is happy with her life. That is to say, she’s not actively unhappy. She’s got a perfectly nice husband, child, home and life and knows she should be grateful for what she’s got. Flying back home one day from a work trip, she meets an attractive married man on a plane and – intensely, quickly, unexpectedly – she steps through all the instincts that say ‘no’ and instead lets ‘yes’ happen. There are consequences for her, her husband, her child and her circle of close friends, all of whom have an investment in her life continuing as normal. But things will never be normal again – and was ‘normal’ what she really wanted after all? Sexy, smart and thought-provoking, Love in Mid Air is a witty, sharp, bittersweet plum of a book, all bite and juice.

‘Funny, sexy, heartbreaking, wise, Love in Mid Airis the kind of novel you will stay up late for. I read the first page and was hooked, I couldn’t put it down. It is not simply the story of a divorce, the story of an affair, the story of one woman caught between two men; it is a delicate exploration of the pull that almost every woman will feel at some point in her life for the unhindered freedom ofsomething more.’ – Dawn Clifton Tripp, author of “Season of Open Water”

Kim Wright has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for many magazines including Wine Spectator, Self, Travel + Leisure, and Vogue, and has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. Love in Mid Air is her first novel. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Kim Wright – What inspired you to write about this subject?

When I got divorced twelve years ago, two weird things happened. First of all, women started spontaneously telling me their bad marriage stories, even women who I thought were perfectly happy. If you get divorced in a small town, you’ve screwed up in a very public way. All of a sudden you become the person it’s okay to confess to and women were practically flagging me down in the supermarket, leaning over my cart and saying “You know, things aren’t that great at home….” I became the repository of a hundred women’s secrets, and the notes I kept from that period became the basis ofLove in Mid Air.

The stories were altered, of course, a loose amalgamation of what was happening to me and my friends. For so long I had thought it was just me who was unhappy but now I was being shown the whole spectrum, the oceanic quality of female discontent. I walked around for a year saying ‘Wow, isn’t anybody happily married?”

The other thing I realized is that there were very few books that dealt with the subject of divorce in a realistic manner. Most of the books were about men leaving women, even thought it’s more statistically likely for a woman to initiate divorce, especially after the age of 40. And there was often some sort of quick fix – the deserted woman ended up falling in love with her attorney or some hunky handyman who showed up to help at her new house. I resented this whole idea that divorce is about swapping one man for another – ideally as fast as possible – with little exploration of the affect a woman’s divorce has on her friends and the whole social web. I knew that needed to make it into the story as well.

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