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Stray: A Novel

1 rating: 5.0
fiction by Sheri Joseph

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Author: Sheri Joseph
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: MacAdam Cage
Date Published: February 15, 2008
1 review about Stray: A Novel

"You have something more with her I suppose."

  • Feb 20, 2009
  • by
In a mix of unexpected passion and the beguilement of a happy marriage, three people are thrust into a heartbreaking situation with no easy resolution. Kent engaged in a volatile, obsessive relationship with the decade-younger Paul, the attraction between them irresistible. It ended abruptly. Three years later the two men come face to face in a library in Atlanta, both stunned by the feelings that surface, drawn back to an impossible yearning to be with one another. Now Paul is twenty-one, beginning a promising acting career and jaded by his lifestyle, living with a professor/mentor, Bernard, who is slowly dying of cancer. More to the crux of the dilemma, Kent has married. A Mennonite and a lawyer, Maggie is everything Kent has imagined in a wife, a truly remarkable person who actually lives her belief of daily forgiveness, letting "God sort out the casualties". Crazy with envy, Paul is desperate to hang on to Kent, his former cruel insouciance gradually chipped away by a love he has yet to acknowledge, trapped in a wasteful lifestyle of excess and self-indulgence.

For his part, Kent is helpless to resist, bifurcating his existence to survive a growing entanglement with Paul while protecting his marriage. Maggie is the innocent, unsuspecting. Impulsively, Paul seeks Maggie out, making friends, volunteering his services with her church group; at first merely curious, Paul is strangely seduced by Maggie (Magdalena) for the same reasons as Kent, her spirit a balm to his own troubled soul. It is the subtle influence of Maggie's influence on both Kent and Paul that gives the novel its note of grace. What would be damning behavior is transformed through her ministrations as a lawyer and as a compassionate woman, allowing Paul to trust someone he has grievously harmed by his association with Kent. Kent fully realizes Maggie's extraordinary value in his life; it is to a great degree why he struggles to deny his passion for Paul, because Maggie is worth a good life, because those who know her are blessed.

With a shocking murder as the catalyst for the inevitable denouement of this triangle, the protagonists are confounded by a predicament with no acceptable solution, the existing emotional tension unbearable, yet exquisitely rendered by this gifted author. Transcending sexual stereotypes, these souls are faced with painful decisions, three sundered by reality into two, an unbearable choice to be made. Skillfully blending the prose of tortured love and potentially agonizing loss, the pages of this remarkable novel dance to a rhythm of their own. Luan Gaines.

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Stray, Sheri Joseph
Stray, Sheri Joseph
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