Strange fits of passion have I known: And I will dare to tell
26-yr-old Maureen marries a charismatic fellow journalist. Amidst a whirlwind relationship of sex and alcohol, he turns out to be an abusive husband. They have a baby and she escapes to a small seaside town in Maine. A murder occurs. What will be the outcome of the trial?
A journalist is putting together an article about the Maureen English case and so Strange Fits of Passion is told through the journalist's notes and Maureen's own memoir-style letters. It's not a style I warm to easily, but in this journalistic thrust, it worked well enough.
It's a lightly compelling story that I admit had me intrigued. Until the last part. It was all terribly predictable, and rather rushed at the end. I was intrigued because it was nicely told and unfolding steadily, but mostly because I was waiting to be dazzled, shocked, at least a little surprised. It turned out to be a very prosaic story. Nothing already not told many times, and much better.
While the note/letter style worked, it stole a lot of emotion from Maureen's story. I would have been much more interested in the raw and complex emotions, as well as the daily interactions, that passed between her and her husband, than mostly a single-event story.
However, if you're stuck at the airport for a few hours and have only a quick flight, it's not a bad one to pick up to wile away time.
I will try another Shreve one day.