“Living with a ghost is easier than living alone.”
If the idea of reading about the fictional lives of eight highly dysfunctional and miserable women makes you giddy with excitement, you might like Based Upon Availability. This novel by Alix Strauss (The Joy of Funerals, Death Becomes Them) allows one to wallow in misery. The chief protagonist Morgan, the manager at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, would seem to have it made. But she’s never gotten over the loss of her younger sister, so she does some very strange things – like having sex with the lowest paid males who work for her and entering the rooms of guests while they’re away.
Oh, yes, we meet the other women – all of whom have big troubles – when Morgan goes inside their room. That’s the signal that another sad story is about to play out. It is actually quite a shame because Strauss can write well, “Bernie sounds like a beagle that never comes when you call… (a man) wearing a golf hat who plays cards with his cronies in Florida.” But the sex scenes are beyond redemption. Morgan whispers to her latest conquest so that she can pretend “like (she’s) in a porn video.”
All in all, this is a sad collection of stories which portray life as nothing more than simple torture.
Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.