Girl in the Moonlight Is a Tale of Obsession

Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
Girl in the Moonlight by Charles Dubow

Charles Dubow's novel Girl in the Moonlight is the story of one man's obsession with a woman who drifts in and out of his life. It is a grueling tale that takes place over decades with the uniting of two hearts being forever out of reach. The narrator, Wylie Rose, and the object of his ardor, Cesca Bonet, are constantly at cross purposes but this passionate relationship still sears the pages of Dubow's book.

The story is told from Wylie's viewpoint as he reflects back on the first few decades of his life. He recalls how he was introduced to the Bonet family as a young teenager. The Bonets were a wealthy artistic family who lived close to the Rose's family home in the Hamptons. There were four Bonet siblings, two boys and two girls. Wylie became particularly close to Aurelio, a boy who had incredible artistic talent. And from the start he worshipped Francesca "Cesca" Bonet, a beautiful young woman a couple of years his senior, who fascinated young Wylie to the point of obsession.

His love for her is not all one sided as Cesca has "moments" she professes she loves him too, but every time he feels he has a commitment of sorts she manages to slip through his fingers. When this happens he swears it will be the last time he makes a fool of himself, but obsession is a strong drug from which he can not disconnect himself.

Dubow cleverly pulls the readers into the affair and lets them feel Wylie's frustrations. At times one becomes tired of Wylie's slavishness, but his persistence is realistic since Cesca is described as so alluring. Dubow has created a woman who is both mysteriously appealing and coldly repulsive. At times Cesca can be self destructive to the extreme to herself and to her relationships, but then she can quickly win back the hearts of those she has alienated.

One flaw in Dubow's writing is his tendency to introduce people who move in the circles of the very rich and very artistic. In many instances he will describe these individuals, giving clues to their identities and then move on without naming names. It is a worthless waste of story time and slows the pacing.

If you are a romantic you will devour every page of this book, for it is a love story that thrives within Dubow's pages. You might not admire Cesca and her choices but you will remember her long after the pages of her story have ended.

Girl in the Moonlight is published by Morrow. It contains 352 pages and sells for $25.99.

Jackie K Cooper