Title: The Late Lamented Molly Marx
Author: Sally Koslow
Release Date: May 19, 2009
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit
Source: Curled Up With a Good Book
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Late Lamented Molly Marx is a novel with a very interesting premise. The novel begins with Molly, in a place called Duration, watching over the mourners at her funeral. Right away, the reader knows that our protagonist is dead and there is no hope for her resurrection. It is a very creative introduction; upon first glance, the reader knows that this will be a completely different novel than most. Instead of rooting for Molly, the reader is rooting for those she left behind to pick up the pieces and live their lives to the fullest. There is also the question of Molly’s death, and whether it was a murder or an accident.
At the beginning, it is unclear whether Molly remembers what happened to her the night of her death. She watches over the detective investigating her death but doesn’t show much emotion. As the novel builds and the mystery deepens, she begins to grow interested in the investigation.
The flashback technique employed in The Late Lamented Molly Marx works very well. Knowing the outcome of the novel does not detract from the reader’s enjoyment at learning Molly’s history. The reader sees Molly as her life progresses, understanding the circumstances that led to her death. As she watches those she loved and reviews her life, Molly realizes how difficult it is to see those she loved cope with her death. It is hardest for her to watch her young daughter Annabel, to know that she will have to learn to live without her mother.
The Late Lamented Molly Marx’s strength lies in the narrator’s wit and charm. Molly is an appealing storyteller and the reader is sucked into her story. The reader’s desire to understand her death is directly tied to their emotional connection with her. In the end, this understanding is a little disappointing – the resolution isn’t all the reader may have hoped for. Still, it is appropriate to the major themes of the novel.
This novel also has a very interesting take on adultery. Often when a person cheats, whether in a book or in real life, the assumption is that they have something missing in their existing relationship, that the adultery is a reaction to what they don’t have. Molly presents the argument that sometimes that isn’t the case – sometimes a person really does simply fall in love. Adultery is a tricky subject in any novel; presenting it sympathetically is that much more difficult. It’s hard to tell whether Koslow fully succeeds in this endeavor, but either way she does a very good job making Molly’s situation incredibly sympathetic.
Despite the serious subjects contained within, The Late Lamented Molly Marx is a fun novel that is very entertaining to read. The unique premise of the novel combined with the sympathetic narrator makes this a book chick lit fans don’t want to miss.