The Office of Desire
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From Publishers WeeklyMoody (Best Friends) stages this sharply observed tale of office relationships gone very wrong at a small Ohio medical practice. When Dr. Will Strub marries office nurse Alicia, he becomes increasingly involved in the local fundamentalist church. That puts him somewhat at odds with his fellow doctor and business partner, Dr. Hap Markowitz, who defines himself as a non-observant, God-fearing Jew. Meanwhile, middle aged office receptionist Caroline begins her own new relationship with a 72-year-old patient named Fred, while Hap devotes his spare time to his seriously ill wife, making office manager Brice literally the odd man out. The slow descent into insanity by one of the characters leads to a tragedy that affects all involved; gay relationships, evangelical fervor, amputation and infidelity all play in. There is a point where loyalty became a sickness, where faithfulness to someone else became a way to destroy yourself, Hap observes, and each of Moody"s well-drawn characters embodies that statement in his or her own way. Hap and Caroline alternate with first person narration, which lends Upstairs Downstairs–like shifts in perspective, which can be distracting. Moody keeps things moving, though, and gets the details right, whether adding up emotional balances, Prozac samples or a patient"s bill. (Aug.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Read moreFrom BooklistMoody"s follow-up to her best-seller Best Friends (2001) is set at a small medical practice in Ohio. The five characters who populate the office—Dr. Hap Markowitz, his medical partner Dr. Will Strub, receptionist Caroline, nurse Alicia, and accountant Brice—are deeply sensitive to changes in each other"s moods and relationships. When Dr. Strub"s wife leaves him, he takes up with single-mother Alicia, creating a breech in Alicia"s friendships with Caroline, who lost a leg to cancer, and painfully shy Brice. Alicia and Dr. Strub marry, and in their wake Caroline and Brice begin a furtive, short-lived affair while Dr. Markowitz struggles with the news that his wife, Janis, is suffering from hepatitis C. Told in alternating sections from Caroline and Hap"s perspectives, the novel builds inevitably toward a tragic event that affects all the characters in the office. Though the book meanders a bit in the middle, when Dr. Strub finds religion, Moody"s second outing perfectly captures the nuances of a small group of people working closely together in an insular environment. Huntley, KristineRead moreSee all Editorial Reviews