Off Course by Michelle Huneven
(Sarah Crichton Books, 2014, 304 pages)
I hadn’t heard of this title before picking it up, but Huneven’s last book (Blame) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award so I figured I’d give her a shot.
Set in the early 1980s, 28-year-old Cressida (Cress) Hartley has decided to take advantage of her parents’ small cabin in northern California to see if she can finally get around to finishing her Economics dissertation. Cress has a hard time finding her motivation so she learns to appreciate her surroundings and falls in with the locals. It’s a much different crowd from what she’s used to and she’s surprised when she finds herself having a fling with a man two decades her senior. Things between them taper off, but then she finds herself entering a relationship with Quinn, a married man. They are together off and on for years and while friends and family are moving on with their lives Cress finds that she’s simply put her life on hold in an attempt to maintain her relationship. This book is far from being a romance and you find yourself going back and forth in your feelings for Cress and Quinn and what you want to see happen. Huneven doesn’t sugar-coat anything.
I enjoyed Off Course, even though I went into it thinking it would be more light-hearted than it was. I certainly appreciate Huneven’s way of capturing the reality of what it means to give in to love and to try and figure out how you feel about infidelity when you suddenly find yourself participating in it.
P.S. I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrator for this title. Her narration didn’t fit the story at all (in my opinion).