Expanding the scope of her storytelling as never before, New York Times bestselling author Joy Fielding delivers the novel that will captivate her devoted fans and win her countless new readers: an exquisitely tender and richly textured love story of astonishing emotional force.
Behind the shiny facade of her seemingly idyllic life in Chicago, Mattie Hart feels as if she is falling apart. After sixteen years of marriage, and one beautiful teenage daughter, Mattie has discovered that her husband, Jake, a high-profile defense attorney, is ensconced in yet another love affair.
It is only after Jake finally confesses his infidelity and leaves to live with his girlfriend that a far greater crisis descends upon the embattled Hart family -- Mattie receives some devastating news that will alter all their lives. Wracked by guilt at these unforeseen developments, Jake returns home to be with Mattie. Here, in this most daunting and unexpected of circumstances, Joy Fielding deftly ushers her characters through a poignant and heartbreaking drama about love's astonishing power to defy the greatest odds and to heal the deepest wounds.
Bearing all the distinctive qualities of a contemporary classic, The First Time is a dazzling illumination of a marriage at the crossroads, where the ties that bind become frayed but refuse to sever, and where a long estranged husband and wife discover, for the first time, exactly what love really means. At once profoundly cathartic and inspiring, The First Time finds Joy Fielding at the height of her powers as she explores the amazing resilience of the human spirit.
She was thinking of ways to kill her husband.
Martha Hart, called Mattie by everyone but her mother, who regularly insisted Martha was a perfectly lovely name -- "You don't see Martha Stewart changing her name, do you?" -- was swimming back and forth across the long, rectangular pool that occupied most of her spacious backyard. Mattie swam every morning from the beginning of May until mid-October, barring lightning or an early Chicago snowfall, fifty minutes, one hundred lengths of precisely executed breaststroke and front crawl, back and forth across the well-heated forty-foot expanse. Usually she was in the water by seven o'clock, so that she could be finished before Jake left for work and Kim for school, but today she'd overslept, or rather, hadn't slept at all until just minutes before the alarm clock went off. Jake, of course, had experienced no such trouble sleeping and was out of bed and in the shower before she'd had time to open her eyes. "Feeling all right?" ...
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"Astonishing. . . . A rich and varied spectacle, full of wisdom and laughter and the touches of the unexpectedly familiar through which literature illuminates life." - The Wall Street Journal.
From within the hopelessness and terror of one of the darkest passages in human history, Dai Sijie has fashioned a beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening and the magical power of storytelling.
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