Subtle Bodies by Norman Rush - review by James Kidd

James Kidd

Friends with Benefits

Subtle Bodies

By

Granta Books 235pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Subtle Bodies is Norman Rush’s fourth work of fiction, although he is so unheard of outside America that British readers may be forgiven for believing it is his debut. This book is not an obvious candidate to compel a literary coronation. The slimmest novel in Rush’s corpus, it has an opening which gives a fair impression that it might be his slightest. Its frenetic pace, zesty tone and enjoyably madcap premise flirt pleasingly with screwball, as if Rush has overdosed on late Woody Allen or been seduced by superior chick lit. 

We find our hero, Ned, in the middle of a marital row, dashing from San Francisco to New York to attend the funeral of an old friend, Douglas. Ned and his wife, Nina, have been trying to conceive and his departure comes slap bang in the middle of her most

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