In this post-privacy new world, any woman can find heartache if she searches hard enough.
Praise for Search Heartache
I did not race through this book as you do with the sort of plot-only books that inhabit the best seller lists. Rather, I enjoyed each chapter as if it were its own short story, with its own cast of characters, plot twists, and satirical insights about contemporary life — mostly Los Angeles, but also London. All written with pathos and humor. This is also a book for readers who appreciate the fine art of writing.”
Search Heartache is a women’s literary fiction piece that stands out from the crowd. It presents the life-changing revelations of Maura Fielder, who stumbles upon her husband’s secret on his computer. This leads her to confront everything she’s taken for granted in her approach to life.
Many similar-sounding books have tackled divorce, infidelity, and changing relationships between men and women, but what sets Search Heartache apart from these stories is Carla Malden’s attention to exploring the intersection of computer lives and real-world heartache, adding an unexpected humor that permeates an often-surprising story of life, death, love, and discovery. Another plus is that this story will reach beyond women readers and into male audiences who will find it astute and accessible, offering many insight and much food for thought.
Irony and a wry sense of fun flavor Maura’s observations from the start as she interacts with husband Adam in their Los Angeles milieu: “Adam didn’t answer. He was watching a promo for the new Ken Burns documentary. This time out: the Dust Bowl. They were hyping it as the worst manmade ecological disaster in history. “I wonder if that’s true,” Adam said. “What?” “About the Dust Bowl.” “People thought it meant the end of the world,” I said, uninterested. “Maura, people always think everything means the end of the world.”
“It’s blowing right on me,” I said. “Would you turn off the air?”
From the nightmare she uncovers about her husband’s obsession after she snoops through his secret online life to how she handles her discovery and assesses its impact on their relationship’s history and values, Search Heartache excels in revealing not just the immediate problem at hand, but also capturing the types of connections that either bind a married couple or tear them apart: “My marriage was supposed to be like that Buddhist adage about hands—how we have a right hand and a left hand and they never fight or take credit. The left hand doesn’t say, “I wrote that word.” The right hand never says, “I turned that page.” They simply help each other. When one hand is injured, the other takes over. My marriage was like those hands, intertwined so that sometimes you couldn’t even tell which finger belonged to which hand. But this morning, I was the hand that stirred the oatmeal, and Adam was the hand on the mouse of the computer, and they were bodies apart.”
As new revelations, connections, and choices drive Maura into another life entirely, fraught with both challenges and promise, readers of women’s literature will find this story a powerfully drawn psychological drama that is compellingly realistic. This authenticity is powered by Carla Malden’s ability to juxtapose real life backdrops and events with an acknowledgement of the lasting impact of these choices: “Adam may have lit the fuse, but I was the bomb who exploded.”
Search Heartache is a gripping first-person story that does an outstanding job of probing the evolution of love, change, and choice. It reveals many mercurial points of view before coming full circle in an unexpected and satisfying way, and will delight fans of women’s fiction and literature who will find in Maura a powerful character whose dilemmas are at once challenging and, in an ironic manner, fun.
Whether Search Heartache is chosen as a beach read or a more thought-provoking work of literature, it’s a tale that will linger in the mind long after its final revelations.
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