Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review: After the Fall by Kylie Ladd

A tale of adultery that manages to withhold judgment as it traces the impact on all four people touched by an affair, Kylie Ladd's After the Fall is a fascinating glimpse into all sides of a story. Couples Kate and Cary and Luke and Cressida are good friends but when Kate and Luke cross the line with a very public kiss, things start to spiral out of control. And instead of backing off from each other, they are irresistibly drawn together in a full blown affair.

Told in short chapters alternating mainly from the four major characters' first person points of view, these psychological snapshots allow the reader deeply into the heads and hearts of each of the characters. Kate, Cary, Luke, and Cressida each start their narration in the aftermath of the affair and their anger, sorrow, guilt, and despair sound almost like notes made for a therapy session. From there, they work backwards, giving the background of their own marriages as well as of their connections to each other and the way that they reached the harmful and hurting place that each of them came to inhabit.

Certainly it would be easy to demonize Kate and Luke for devastating Cary and Cressida and having their affair but Ladd offers no such easy moralizing. Each of her characters is human, flawed and to be pitied. Although the novel opens after the end of the affair, there is still a palpable tension as Kate and Luke move towards each other and and the feeling of breath being held as Cary and Cressida stumble on the truth. The end is a realistic unraveling surprising for its truth. Ladd's training as a psychologist is clearly evident in her deep mining for motivation and explanation in each of her characters and she has drawn a taut, intense read.

I won this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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