Small-town man Cyrus Stapleton thinks he’s done everything right—married early, fathered two precocious kids, and partnered in his Seattle law firm—but his wife, Jude, wants to break out. Cyrus is comfortable in the middle of the pack but she yearns for something more. Envisioning Cyrus as all the czars and dictators of the nineteenth century rolled into a three-piece suit and herself as the liberated visionary, Jude sheds her ring, then her married name, and finally her bewildered husband.
Gripped by the helplessness and distortion of vision that accompany the meltdown of his marriage, Cyrus is bewildered. How did it ever come to this? Is it the fault of Jude’s Sunday-night women’s group and its fiery leader, Lill Epstein, the ex-army feminist with silicone breasts? Does Jude have a new lover? How does a reasonable man behave in the face of his wife’s decision and her demands for custody, alimony, and child support? How can he salvage his relationship with his kids when he is relegated to twice-a-month fatherhood? And if these concerns aren’t enough, what is he to do when, contrary to his best judgment, he becomes attracted to none other than Lill Epstein? Searching for a way back to normalcy—through a men’s therapy group, the misguided assistance of his younger brother, and his kids (who begin to act out in troubling ways in response to their mother’s new life choices)—the issue becomes the survival of his children, not his own piece of mind, and Cyrus is forced to make hard and unexpected choices.
An emotional roller coaster of a novel, A Good Divorce is propelled by unexpected twists and turns, legal conflicts, suspicions both real and imagined, and a decent man’s struggle to find a middle ground between reason and emotion while clinging to his deeply held values.