Cover Image: MacArthur Park

MacArthur Park

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Member Reviews

DNF @ 54%

I really loved the beginning but I’m finding that I don’t care anymore. I wish it was shorter as I’m finding myself just wanting it to end.
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I really loved this novel about two women, and their long term friendship with all it’s ups and downs over a lifetime, and the man they both marry (at separate times.)The writing is beautiful, and the characters so nuanced,as their lives ebb and flow, together and apart. I love a novel that seems simple, just a study of three people, as the grow and age, but digs so deep. Emotionally complex and engrossing. Couldn’t put this down.
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What a wonderful novel about friendship, love, marriage, art, and a city that becomes your home even as it continues to change around you. I was deeply moved by the story of a lifelong friendship between two very different women. The novel was also beautifully describing the ebbs and flow of a long marriage, in which love, care and betrayal all play out at some point. LA the city was itself a character in the novel, and it was a pleasure to imagine the world the author created.
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A promising outline turns into a dry novel with a voice that both dominates and fails to entice. The character triangle lacks engagement and the history seems short on credibility. No compelling narrative here.
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I am a great fan of Judith Freeman (Red Water, The Long Embrace, The Latter Days) and her newest novel, Macarthur Park is a subtle, risk taking story built delicately on the shifting sands of interwoven destinies, the tale of three flawed people intimately linked by love and their mutual history. Freeman's humanity and compassion, her understanding of the deep roots of friendship and the patient unfolding of relationships is a marvel.

Verna, a working-class Utah housewife, loses her husband to another woman after twenty years of marriage. Meanwhile, her childhood best friend Jolene has become a famous and controversial artist. On a whim, Verna decides to join Jolene in Los Angeles, not realizing that Jolene’s marriage to a mysterious man, a composer, Vincent, is also troubled, When Jolene leaves Vincent, he seeks out the simpler, sincere and calming Verna. Eventually, they marry. 

Over the years, Verna finds a new life for herself as a writer, and discovers some deep truths about this man she has chosen. But their quiet life is shaken to the core when they learn--in their late sixties--that they will be evicted from their longtime home in Macarthur Park, a turmoil exacerbated by the reappearance of Jolene after a twenty-year absence. Jolene’s request that Verna return with her to Utah, where their relationship began, completes the cycle of this quiet, beautiful story of imperfect people nevertheless holding love between them.

Freeman never takes an expected turn. None of this will you have seen in a conventional friend-novel or on the screen. It has the scent of reality, and the unbalance of reality, the awkward pull of real relationships, and the depth of relationships that survive the years. Both quiet and remarkable. It will be published in October, 2021.
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