Midnight Champagne

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National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Chekhov, in a letter to his brother, wrote that “if you fear loneliness, then marriage is not for you.” When I first encountered that quote, I suddenly understood the heart of the book I was trying to write, the book that would become Midnight Champagne, a book which I envisioned as a whirling kaleidoscope of all the love and hatred and passion and exasperation that results whenever men and women make what is, in fact, a highly irrational commitment: to spent their lives together.

Midnight Champagne takes place over the course of a wedding celebration. The bride and groom, who are very much in love, have known each other for only three months, and as their families collide at the Great Lakes Chapel and Hideaway Lodge, everybody has a strong opinion and a lively prediction about the union, based on their own marital experiences. As the wedding festivities unfold, another couple-a couple who’d married just three years earlier with the same high optimism-check into the Hideaway Lodge and are soon parted forever, a result of growing anger and frustration which has led to violence.

As these two stories gradually intersect, I try not to take sides, to let each character have his or her say. Still, I hope I’ve addressed the myth, implied by every romance novel and jewelry advertisement, that marriage is a cure for loneliness. The reality is this: even when you know somebody intimately, love them deeply, you’ll eventually encounter black holes-silences, absences, secrets. Marriage, rather than curing loneliness, can become a mirror that reflects it. Fortunately, that same mirror is capable of other reflections as well: humor, astonishment, fascination and joy.