Bad Timing: A Novel
Authors: Berne, Betsy
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Synopsis: “The value of Bad Timing as a cultural portrait, its subversiveness, is not in what it criticizes, but in what it celebrates—the pride of losers, the volatility of deep friendships between women, the tribal bonds between blacks and Jews, and especially love of family. This is a hilarious, venomous first novel.”—Darryl Pinckney
The unnamed narrator is an artist, a single woman in her late thirties. The man she meets at a downtown club is a jazz musician, older—and married. Their attraction is instinctive, irrational, and profound—and complicated by the fact that she becomes pregnant after their first night together. Bad Timing is the story of their affair, which unfolds over one steamy summer in the dreamy enclaves of lower Manhattan.
Under the erratic tutelage of her black, gay neighbor, her stentorian Jewish mother, and a circle of eccentric friends (who provide fuel as much for neurosis as for comfort), this unconventional woman struggles to reconcile her need for love with the limits and liberties of an undercover affair. Her story is filled with head-on confrontations with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, morals, and family—by turns bitingly funny and genuinely heartbreaking.
Set in an all-too-small New York universe of artists, musicians, and writers in which the lives of our hapless heroine and her errant lover intersect repeatedly with far fewer than six degrees of separation, Bad Timing memorably depicts a woman seeking to find love and balance in a world where men and women are equally complicit in games of emotional hide-and-seek, and where culture has become little more than merchandise and personalities. With devilish insights into the clubby worlds of art and magazines, Bad Timing is a tart-yet-sweet story of modern love, lost and found.