A mad woman, a poet and 40 divorce lawyers,
This review is from: My First Wife (Hardcover)
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An intriguing but depressing tale of two personalities, Alexander and Ganna. Their distinct and differing psychopathologies result in mayhem and chaos, providing fuel for a barrage of divorce lawyers. Both are unable to deal with the exigencies of practical day to day reality, and it is obvious from the start that the dissonance between them can never be resolved.
This fated couple can never live harmoniously together. The predator and seductress Ganna seems to have a sociopathic disorder, and histrionics abound in all her relationships. She has an "overpowering will and dazzling sorcery". Despite her husband, Alexander the poet, having some intense intellectual insight into the processes of the dynamic between them, he is hopelessly bereft of any self awareness that can help him affect change. I have empathy for him, but not sympathy. Their marriage is wholly conditional, and Alexander is unwilling to confront the manipulative guiles of his wife, always rationalising his assessments of her omnipotent behaviour, and so acting accordingly, only to add fuel to her fires. Personally, I want to give her a slap.
Alexander's second wife Bettina has a more strongly defined personality that provides some degree of armour against financial demands and accompanying emotional onslaughts. Alexander is really unable to see beyond his rather narcissistic approach to life, procrastinating throughout. He only realises at the end that it is Bettina that has suffered in real terms more than anyone.
I enjoyed the book, being left with an impression of how useless it is to try and maintain a relationship when personalities are so diverse, and that a lack of self awareness is potentially so destructive.