A review of
by Sheri Joseph
The cover of Sheri Joseph’s first novel, Stray, features a bed in disarray, still bearing the imprint of absent bodies, the white comforter awash in blue light. The image suggests something delicious and probably untoward; there is the hint of a hasty retreat.
No surprise, then, that the novel opens with a postcoital conversation between two men at a borrowed condo in Florida in which twenty-one-year-old Paul raises the specter of his lover Kent’s marriage, accusingly, “as if the marriage and not his presence in this bed were the character flaw that Kent should examine.” Paul goes on to pose an impossible question: “When you’re with her, do you think about me?” Kent, a thirty-three-year-old musician who is dangerously far gone in his love for Paul, commits the sin that will ultimately bring the two halves of his life together: “with a word, he opened the first door on his marriage.”
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