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The Book of Trouble: A Romance    by Ann Marlowe order for
Book of Trouble
by Ann Marlowe
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

Marlowe bares her soul in her latest book, The Book of Trouble: A Romance, which is part memoir and part social/political commentary. She pulls no punches in this account that covers everything from love to sex to religion. Clearly she is comfortable with disclosure: her first book chronicled her heroin addiction.

Marlowe is fascinated by the Muslim world and its culture, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq. She writes of several trips to these countries, her fascination with the common Muslim practice of cousin marriage, and her general political viewpoints. Brought up Jewish, the author has never found the right fit with someone of her own cultural and religious background. In fact, most of her friendships and love relationships are with non-Americans.

By this point in her mid-forties, Marlowe falls for Amir, a thirty-something Afghan who has lived in America for many years. They have a powerful physical connection, which fails to translate into a lasting relationship. In fact, much of the book is spent dissecting her brief liason with Amir, which appears to have been doomed from the start.

The book was likely cathartic for her as she realizes the root of her inability to form lasting love relationships stems from her parents' unhappy marriage, as well as a dark secret from her father's past. 

The author puts forth some interesting theories about physical and emotional love, and their cultural ties, as she attempts to make sense of her feelings for Amir, and to come to terms with that relationship's failure to flourish. At times the writing is tedious, but overall, The Book of Trouble is honest, gritty, and thought-provoking.

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