Book Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Posted February 7, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours / 4 Comments

I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Indiscretion by Charles DubowIndiscretion by Charles Dubow
Published by William Morrow on February 5th 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours


We’ve all been around a couple who can engulf the attention of an entire room merely by occupying it. Harry and Madeleine Winslow are that set; the natural ease between them is palpable and their chemistry is almost tangible. He is a recent National Book Award winner with a promising career ahead of him, and she is blessed with family money, but radiates beauty, elegance, and humility. Whether they are abroad in Italy after he receives the Rome Prize, in their ambrosial East Hampton home, or in gritty Manhattan, they are always surrounded by close friends and those who wish to penetrate their inner circle. During a summer spent at the beach, they meet 26 year-old Claire and, as the summer blazes on, she is slowly inducted into their world. Claire can’t help but fall in love with Harry and Maddy and at the end of the summer, it is no longer enough to just be one of their hangers-on. Told through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, Indiscretion is a juicy, page turning novel with writing that is sophisticated and lyrical. Deeply textured, full of light and darkness, and overwhelmingly sensual, this book will be the sexiest, most intimate story you read all year.

in·dis·cre·tion [in-di-skresh-uhn]
1. The quality or state of being indiscreet; want of discretion; imprudence; rashness.
2. An indiscreet or imprudent act; indiscreet behavior.
3. A brief sexual liaison.

‘His betrayal was as natural as a disease, as a cancer that builds up quietly inside the body and then erupts unbidden when there is nothing else to keep it in check. And when it happened, it consumed him.’

Indiscretion tells the story of the excitingly attractive couple Harry and Madeleine, and the seemingly innocent girl who came in to their lives only to destroy it completely. Claire became wholly absorbed in the lives of Harry and Madeleine equally, however, her love for Harry became much more prominent and as the story goes with many indiscretions, there was a moment of weakness which ended up spiraling out of control.

‘…he has discovered that there is something more, something he had never known about before, an extra dimension where time and space exist on a different plane. Like an explorer who has discovered an earthly paradise, he has lost his taste for the world beyond and all he can think of is crossing the snow bridge back to Shangri-la.’

As Claire and Harry’s fling continued it became clear that there was no turning back now and lives had already been irrevocably changed. But even if either of them could take back their actions, they had both become so intertwined in one another that life before the indiscretion became a blur, a life forgotten.

‘Why am I the narrator of this story? I am because it is the story of my life – and of the people I love most. I have tried to be as scrupulous as possible in my telling of it. I wasn’t a participant in everything that happened, but after I knew the ending, I had to fill in the missing pieces through glimpses that meant nothing to me at the time, memories that flash back with new significance, old legal pads, sentences jotted down in notebooks and on the backs of aging photographs.’

The narrator choice seemed quite unsuitable as Walter wasn’t exactly one of the main characters but more like an onlooker reporting his findings. That’s not particularly an issue in itself, but what was odd was the fact that many sections of the story never even involved him which left the question how he was able to remain a reliable narrator. Oftentimes there would be a random mentioning of ‘Why do I know what happened? Well, Harry wrote it down. He’s a writer and that’s what he does and I read it and that’s how I know’ or something to that effect, It was a strange explanation and one that I didn’t wholly accept. It seems the choice of narrator should be something that is flawlessly accepted which requires no specific explanation.

The author is a self-professed fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald and it is clear it has influenced his style of writing greatly. I would also compare the style of writing to Diana Tartt’s ‘The Secret History’ and also the story itself slightly as it tells the story of wealthy individuals and their downfall. The key with this type of storyline is to draw the readers in and not only keep them interested and invested in the characters themselves but still manage to draw a certain amount of compassion for them. I don’t believe Dubow succeeded as well as he had intended as the characters failed to derive any sort of sympathy from me. The writing still managed to be stunning as a whole and kept me enrapt while the pages flew. Indiscretion is Charles Dubow’s debut novel and an impressive one at that.

*All quotes taken are from an uncorrected proof*

This post was a part of the Indiscretion blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.


4 responses to “Book Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

  1. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    A sinfully wicked read this sounds like. I loved all the quotes you shared and I am very curious about this one. I know you don’t give out that high rating lightly, Bonnie.

  2. Jen

    “Deeply textured, full of light and darkness, and overwhelmingly sensual, this book will be the sexiest, most intimate story you read all year.” Wow! What praise! Sounds like a great read.

  3. Heather J @ TLC Book Tours

    Ooh, this one sounds SO GOOD! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I can’t wait to dive in myself.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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