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Men Overboard

Big notions of adultery in the smallest state.

Jun 13, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 37 • By DIANE SCHARPER
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By novel’s end, Elsie has become involved with, seduced, and dropped several men. She’s also befriended May while she’s still in love with Dick, or at least desires him. The final pages have a faint Molly Bloom aroma as Casey slows the pace to show Elsie fantasizing about Dick. She’s swimming naked (of course) in her pool at night, which just happens to be in her front yard and the very spot where she saw Dick while she was nursing Rose when the narrative began. She hears a sound. Is that his truck? No, it’s Walt, another male friend who, she observes “had had her, had pulled orgasms out of her like fish on a trotline.” Walt has chosen this very moment to return a book that Elsie left at a party. As he leaves, Elsie finds tendrils across her shoulder. She feels wet and checks to see whether she’s menstruating. No, she’s in the pool. Perhaps she’s pregnant again? Who knows? The answer will have to wait for volume three of the saga.

Diane Scharper, editor of Reading Lips, a collection of memoirs, teaches at Towson University.

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