Usually in novels set in the big city like Manhattan, it's the hard-boiled private investigator who takes on the role of Greek Chorus. He or she splays wisdom, common sense and even life-saving observations throughout the book.
But in this 2014 novel "Constance" by Patrick McGrath it's the lawyer Ed Kaplan who does the deep dives about what psychologically destructive games are going on. He shares that in walks in Central Park. He describes. He doesn't judge. Here you can order the book from Amazon.
Kaplan, who handles Sidney Klein's divorce, tells the professor marriage is his natural state of being. Therefore, he needs to find another cocoon to wrap himself in. We agree there.
But given that Klein has enough inner darkness to attract even greater darkness, he marries Constance Schuyler. She seems borderline insane, with an extreme Daddy Complex. Along the way lots of people will murder, commit suicide or continue to live out lives of chaotic desperation. The severity of emotional dysfunction is scary. Sane people would smartphone Uber in Manhattan and flee the scene created daily by Sidney and Constance. But no one, except Kaplan, is sane.
Not that Kaplan is tied all-together. He is rearing his four children to be anarchists. Then he wonders why they won't conform. But, like so many lawyers, he intuitively picks up on relationship dynamics.
Perhaps in networking we should include at least one lawyer in our social circle. We all get drunk, then ask that lawyer how we are screwing up our lives. Online, on Abovethelaw.com, two lawyers do that for careers. They are full-time writer Joe Patrice and weekly guest columnist Alex Rich. Take the two out to a bar in Grand Central and run your gameplan by them.
If you're feeling emotionally fragile during this holiday season, "Constance" is not for you. The mental disturbance is described too vividly. Even Sigmund Freud might be freaked out.