The Divorce Papers, a book review

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The Divorce Papers

Mia and Daniel are getting a divorce. And as in most divorces, there is huge animosity between the couple that spills over into the life of their child.

But Mia and Daniel are not your average divorcees. Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim is a member of an important American society family and her husband the eminent Chief of Paediatric Oncology. There is money and reputation on the line.

But it is Sophie Diehl, the rather unsuitable lawyer, who is assigned the initial interview with Mia; she is a criminal lawyer and a young associate in the firm of Traynor, Hand, Wyzanski.  She is asked to take on the initial interview with her client Mia and is subsequently hired, despite all her protestations of her own incompetence.   As Mia sees it, they are both on their first divorce!

Written in the form of an epistolary novel, novelist Susan Rieger tells her story through letters, memos, emails, articles and a raft of legal papers. Although an interesting vehicle through which she attempts to traffic human misery, Rieger ensures that our sympathies, like our characters are kept at arm’s length. The legalese and the endless documents help us to experience some of the tedium of the world of law and the endless frustration of offer and counteroffer, but it is like reading a story through translucent glass – the light comes in but it is difficult to tell what is on the other side.

This is a valiant experiment and it certainly has a refreshing originality; for this I applaud Rieger.  However,  I found it difficult to read and would be reluctant to recommend it to others.

(Bloggingforbooks allowed me to download this book for free in return for this review.)

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