A Window Across the River

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9780156030120: A Window Across the River

Isaac and Nora haven't seen each other in five years, yet when Nora phones Isaac late one night, he knows who it is before she's spoken a word. Isaac, a photographer, is relinquishing his artistic career, while Nora, a writer, is seeking to rededicate herself to hers.

Fueled by their rediscovered love, Nora is soon on fire with the best work she's ever done, until she realizes that the story she's writing has turned into a fictionalized portrait of Isaac, exposing his frailties and compromises and sure to be viewed by him as a betrayal. How do we remain faithful to our calling if it estranges us from the people we love? How do we remain in love after we have seen the very worst of our loved ones? These are some of the questions explored in a novel that critics are calling "an absolute pleasure" (The Seattle Times).

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Review:

In A Window Across the River, author Brian Morton raises a question most writers ask themselves at some point: is it OK to follow your muse when the artistic result may hurt your loved ones?

Nora struggles constantly with this issue--it seems her best characters are always based on the less than attractive qualities of close friends and family. With first-hand knowledge of the havoc this can wreak, she finds herself stuck in a writer's block (and a stagnant relationship) and decides to contact an old love. When Nora reaches out to him, Isaac is having his own creative difficulties, worrying that his artistic integrity has plummeted since he can't seem to find anything he wants to photograph any more. The artists' reconnection is inspiring for their work, but threatens to ruin their relationship.

There isn't much action here--most pages are filled with the internal thoughts of Nora and Isaac. We meet a lot of walk-on characters, whose sole purpose seems to be getting us out of the main characters' heads for a moment. But in the end, the story is an engaging one, filled with funny insights about relationships ("when our lovers try to leave us, we suddenly become lawyers"), and driven by two compelling characters we come to know inside and out. --Brangien Davis

Book Description:

Published in hardcover by Harcourt, 2003, 0-15-100757-8

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