Landslide Story Runs Deep in ‘The Slippage’
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 14:09
When things seem like they cannot get any worse, they do. This is the recurring theme of Ben Greenman’s recent novel “The Slippage,” a tale of a suburban couple and the secrets that lead to a landslide of trouble between them.
William and Louisa Day are a childless couple that share a quirky relationship and inhabit an even quirkier neighborhood. They each have their share of secrets, and though they are very cold on occasion, it is easy to see their love is a real one.
However, secrets spring up all throughout the novel, ones that William cannot confide in his wife. His life takes a dive early on in the novel when very sudden events catapult him into difficult situations.
Emma Wheeler, a woman William once shared a weekend tryst with, moves across the street with her husband. Pregnant and very keen on continuing their affair, Emma plays nice with William before calling it quits. William is used like a yoyo, as his up-and-down emotions about Emma confuse his feelings about their affair.
It also does not help that William is fired from his office job for punching his boss. That, and the fact that he is spending more time than usual with another old flame and her son, a boy he wished was his own. As expected, this only leads to more misfortune, as William is cut off from his friend’s son following an accident.
On top of all of this, William is faced with his wife’s random request for him to build her a house. More confused than ever, he begins to spend an exorbitant amount of time with his childish brother-in-law Tom, whose penchant for young women, alcohol and car trouble is indeed a strong one.
Readers will enjoy any passages with Tom present, as his language and personal plotline are both major plusses in “The Slippage.” His shallow, uncaring attitude is very potent but his obvious intelligence and familial compassion somewhat redeem him. Tom is a strong friend to William throughout “The Slippage” and knows more about William’s tailspin than he lets on.
Louisa also goes through a similar rough patch, as the reader later learns. She suffers through the reappearance of her brother in her life, William’s distance, and the new house she has planned for the two of them.
Fortunately for them, William and Louisa find a common ground in their despair after a sudden smoothness evens out their situations. While their stories are hard to swallow, their reunion has a lesson (abstract as it may be) that any reader can glean.
Life can throw curveballs, and everybody makes mistakes. Essential to everything, good or bad, is having someone to rely on and confide in to make it through whatever mess has been made. “The Slippage” explores how deep somebody can sink before realizing there was someone there all along to pull them out of their hole.