Crazy Sorrow Novel

Crazy Sorrow: A Novel

Vince Passaro

Vince Passaro has released Crazy Sorrow

(Simon and Schuster 448 pp. $27). Like in my last review, some books are so good they’re part of the joy of living. Even though the reader knows the characters are fictional, suspended disbelief will absorb you in this one and deliver a powerful emotional impact. I have to confess that I cried in this one, though it was in some ways a happy cry, happy that this book left me with memories I’ll keep my whole life.

George and Anna meet on the bicentennial in 1976, watching the tall ships sail around the tip of Manhattan. Both are students at Columbia. The physical attraction is instantaneous. From there begins a relationship burdened by their mutual immaturity and childhood traumas. Anna’s brother has left home and disappeared. I won’t disclose George’s for fear of removing the shock value.

Once on the way to George’s dorm room they come across the body of a classmate who has apparently jumped to his death, a magnificent literary foreshadowing of future events. George writes for the student paper and becomes obsessed with the story about the dead student which indirectly leads to the pair breaking up.

Anna goes to law school and George, never finishing his degree, begins driving a coffee truck. They both bounce in and out of relationships and eventually marry. And eventually divorce. The story carries them through their 30s and into their 40s with the two occasionally running into each other in Manhattan, though nothing comes of these chance encounters.

The sex scenes are not for the squeamish. I had never seen an author describe a clitoris, but the details add to the emotional impact especially in the scenes from Anna’s point of view. You can probably guess where this is heading, as I did but the eventual resolution of the romance is enough to knock you off your chair, partly because you know that although George and Anna are fictional, the same events could have, and probably did happen two other couples.

It’s an A plus, though not for everybody. Pissarro doesn’t especially believe in punctuation, and his sentence are long, sometimes strained. I’ve read some of it to my wife and she’s not interested in reading it, but for those with patience and perhaps a little prurient interest, he carries my highest recommendation.

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