Matthew Geyer is the author of two novels, Strays (2008) and Atlantic View (2020). He blogs here about literary fiction and more.
In his new novel, Atlantic View, a long-time newspaper reporter, Patrick Munchen, loses his job, his wife and his way, only to discover an improbable new path with the support of his teenage daughter, Megan. Set against the backdrop of the Obama election, and Patrick’s search for the woman who wrote his father a stash of letters during the Second World War, the end of one kind of life becomes the beginning of another. "Those of us who live here year-round do it for the winters, I think.” Molly Bowditch sat in her parlor, sizing up her visitor. I hadn’t allowed myself to tarry in the drive; just parked and got out, strolled straightway to the front steps and knocked. Reached by gravel lane, the house sat on a ridge above town, a white-plaster two-story with dormer windows facing the sea. She had met me at the door, a once-tall lady now settled a bit into her lower stories. I tried to imagine what she looked like in her twenties, sizing up her face and her height and winding them back sixty years. When she asked how my crossing went, I’d shared my thoughts on how winters must be on an island in the North Atlantic. “We’re just a few hundred of us now,” she added, “and the winters are the quiet times.”
So begins this tale of a husband who rides every edge, and the wife who’s had enough of it. She leaves him the house she never wanted in Connecticut, and takes a flat on the Upper East Side.
Can they be more, separate, than they ever were together? And how separate can they be, with a teenager between them?
Barbara used to think walking out was the biggest move she’d ever make; now she knew it was the not going back. If she went back, she’d know what she was getting into, for she knew Chase like nobody did. And she knew the deal was there for the taking—knew it even if Chase did not.
But did she want that deal? Was the alternative so scary? Years from now, would she look back on choosing the ambiguity of the unknown as the best move she ever made—or the worst?