One ‘Marriage on the Rocks’, with an ‘Affair on the Side’.

'Sudden Rain' by Maritta Wolff. Photo by
Of affairs and divorces. Photo by

Multitasking is not new to me. Yet, neither is it my strength. I don’t enjoy multitasking because I make more errors and my concentration wanes from task to task. But more often than not, I don’t have much say in it, and I don’t have a choice either. Depending on what the tasks are, I have to do multiple tasks at work with more focus and attention, of course. When I’m home, I tend to do a variety of the household chores, but without the deadlines that I face at work.

But when it comes to reading, believe it or not, it is actually more difficult to concentrate. Because there is a lot to read, a plot to understand, and characters to remember! Imagine getting confused with the plots and the characters. Earlier, I published a post on ‘All The Bright Places‘ by Jennifer Niven that I am currently reading. Guess what? I also happen to be reading another book called ‘Sudden Rain‘ by Maritta Wolff.

Book synopsis, courtesy of Goodreads:

“A vivid, gripping, emotional, and addictive read, Sudden Rain is also a rare and valuable time capsule: the long-lost manuscript of Maritta Wolff — the author who, at the age of twenty-two, published what Sinclair Lewis deemed “the most important novel of the year,” Whistle Stop (1941).

Now that Sudden Rain has come out of its hiding place — in Wolff’s refrigerator, found after her death — it remains gloriously frozen in time. Set in the fall of 1972, the novel perfectly captures, with expansive emotion and cinematic detail, the domestic trends of three generations of middle-class couples living in suburban Los Angeles. A brilliant portrait of its burgeoning era, Sudden Rain also offers striking cultural commentary on our everyday notions of love and marriage; individuality, equality, and community; and the promise and pursuit of the American Dream.”

‘Sudden Rain’ is all about rocky unions, petty divorces, and long-term affairs. The first page of the first chapter itself already detailed a woman’s ongoing divorce settlement in court and her friend testifying on the witness stand against the woman’s husband. There were three other couples in the same situation: the first pair had divorced, the second pair is stuck in an unhappy marriage, while the third pair thinks they are happily married but the wife feels she could be wrong about it. But their grounds for divorce are very petty indeed. Then again, how women in the 1970s perceive marriage to be is vastly different from how women see marriages in modern times. Wedded bliss is a win-lose debate. One party wins while the other loses. A mother may be granted custody of the children while the father may not be given visitation rights. On the other side of the coin, a father can oust the role of the mother from the equation, completely cutting off all ties and relations while poisoning the children’s minds against their own birth mother. It can go either way. Thankfully, this is not happening in the book, I think.

The women naively believed that when a baby comes into the picture, things would settle down into perfect harmony. Perhaps not, as they continued to feel depressed and unattractive. Their lives have been reduced to the daily monotony of childcare, house maintenance and keeping the husband content in bed; while the men go out to work to put bread on the table. Or so they believed it to be the case. Their husbands are working hard, no doubt, but their eyes stray from the laptops and land on unforgiveable sights. One look at lust and the marriage fizzles like a spark of flame in the rain.

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