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Monday, September 15, 2008

Abstain: "Harry, Revised" by Mark Sarvas

Harry Rent, the protagonist in Harry, Revised, is a white, middle-aged physician. His wife Anna, wealthy in her own right, has just died while undergoing cosmetic surgery. Eating at a diner before his wife's funeral, he develops a crush on his waitress, Molly.

During the remainder of the novel, we watch Harry try to get the attention and affection of the 22-year-old Molly by intervening in the life of another waitress, Lucille. In contrast to Harry's wealth, and Molly's youth and education, Lucille is old, poor, and has health problems. Interspersed with this are flashbacks on Harry and Anna's marriage, and scenes of Harry attempting to come to grips with being alone, and with his sister-in-law's anger over Anna's death.

Harry is selfish, aggressive and insecure. There isn't any charm in his character that could take the edge off his boorish and embarrassing activities.

I can't remember what prompted me to pick-up this book. Today, I read a review it was given in the New York Times. I concur with that reviewer.

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