Published by: Villard
Release Date: March 7, 2000
Winner of the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, 66 Laps was published in hardback by Villard/Random House. This special ebook edition has a forward by novelist, Brenda Janowitz.
I slapped the bitch. So begins this tale of a new mom plagued with insecurity as she suspects her husband is having an affair. Heartbroken, the slap echoes, setting in motion a chain of events that she cannot control. While her husband works in the backlots of Hollywood, Audrey swims laps in her small backyard pool and tries to make sense of her life. But all the while she is missing the point, swimming in circles. Audrey toys with vengeance in the form of a younger man, Just as she regains her strength, tragedy strikes and she gives up all hope. Ultimately, she finds that only love endures…and dives back in.
“66 Laps is about the new monogamy, the old infidelity, about the power we give to strangers and fragility of intimacy. It’s about dreams and nightmares, betrayal and seduction. The voice is engaging, the characters memorable and moving, the subject important. You can’t trust a woman in love Audrey tells us. Indeed.”
-Faulkner Prize Judge’s Speech given by John Dufresne
“A sweet contemporary love story with an old fashioned message”
-Kirkus (Starred Review)
“Witty dialogue, a lean plot and a few terrific one-liners…slickly composed and smoothly engaging.”
“Represents the dark side of fidelity and family life. The book is suspenseful, the prose spare. Dip into 66 Laps and you may well feel compelled to race to the finish…”
“Beautifully written debut novel…profoundly challenges the wisdom of women returning to hearth and home to the exclusion of meaningful work.”
“A neatly made drama about the plight of modern marriage.”
-N.P.R: All Things Considered
“An enjoyable, quick read.”
“Here’s a book I’d like to see end up on Oprah’s list: a revenge story that takes an evil twist and, in the process, makes short order of every question about marriage that contemporary feminists have about not only the institution, itself, but the people who enter into it. 66 Laps…plays like a great movie.”
I slapped the bitch. I didn’t plan to, but that doesn’t mean it was an accident. Some say life is one big accident, or a series of accidents, but that’s not true. Accidents don’t just happen. They happen when someone is careless. He didn’t; care ay less: I cared about things that meant less. If only I could take it back, use my manners, let it go. But it was only a moment.
I carry the what-ifs with me, heavy as my heartbeat.
The angry imprint of my hand swelled instantly on Colleen’s cheek. Stunned, her eyes swept across my face like a spotlight searching for remorse. I was as scared as she was. But I wasn’t sorry.
Little Gina started crying, her soft arms strangling my knees. Her tiny tears fought in vain to douse the heat of the moment. Colleen’s son, already captive in his car seat, joined in. Without a word, Colleen bolted across the sun-baked driveway, climbed in her silver Jeep and squealed backwards to the street. I pried Gina’s grip loose, lifted her high and hugged her against my pounding chest. Her wail eased to a whimper.
Jim emerged from the corner of our yard where he’d been marking his territory. No stray coyotes would claim this stake. He zipped up his jeans, rounded the swing set and ran over. My husband is an extra-large kind of guy, rugged and boyish at 38, thick chestnut hair dipped in silver, with the kind of searing blue eyes that brand your heart... until there is no more. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no pretty boy. He’s a personal outlaw, a suburban cowboy, my hero.
“What was that all about?” He put out his arms for Gina.
I kissed her and handed her over to Daddy. I watched the Jeep barrel down the street and shrugged.
Frankly, I just didn’t like the way Colleen said it. Ooooh, you have gray hair!— so gleeful, like it made her day. It made her day the last time she’d noticed, too. And the time before that. It was understandable that she had a problem dealing with the loss of pigment— after all, she lived off her looks. Maybe it justified the time and money she spent coloring her raven locks. Who knows?
At least she wasn’t blonde.
It wasn’t that I minded my gray hairs. At 32, I’d earned a few. Mostly, my chocolate tresses matched my eyes and flowed long and wild beneath the water, like a mermaid’s. But in real life, each alien strand was a stop sign that shouted at me every time I looked in the mirror. Time’s up! Over the hill! Move aside! Even so, I had no crisis when I turned thirty. I never lie about my age.
Jim was waiting for my explanation. “She only made eighty grand modeling last year since staying home with the baby.”
I turned to see the smile I love so much. All summer in a smile. If I had long legs and big boobs, I’d be perfect for Jim. If he had a fat wallet, he’d be perfect for me. But someplace, a foot or so below the brain, we connected.
“Watch Gina, will you? I’m going for a swim.”