Kim Moritsugu, Old Flames, 1999.
This novel is another one of those books that came to me via the Library after I had forgotten what hard prompted me to read the book itself. This process is happening more and more frequently; it’s enough to make me seriously concerned about my memory.
At any rate, Moritsugu’s novel is well-written and interesting, though more concerned with people and feelings than with plot, which truth may explain away the awkward deus ex machina ending. The story revolves two woman: one a suburban housewife, and the other an up-and-coming advertising executive who has just left New York to take over the Toronto office. The latter is obsessed with an old boyfriend—hence the title—and the missed possibilities that she remembers from her teenage years. The former woman remembers both her pre-married and pre-children years, and her own career in public relations, and comes to wonder about an old flame of her own.
It is a competent novel about regret and the acceptance of one’s life, and has flashes of pellucid writing, but I found it somewhat uneven. [It is published by one of my favourite Canadian presses, Porcupine’s Quill, and reminded me for reasons I can’t fully articulate a novel called Buying on Time, by Antanas Sileika.]