Jesse Kornbluth has tackled the ever elusive subject of the role of sex in marriage and love, with keen observation, savvy wit and unconstrained love. Kornbluth cannot disguise his love of sex, nor should he. He writes engagingly about hot sex, hard sex, soft sex, and long slow sex. In the hands of a lesser writer this story could have easily disintegrated into cheap eroticism or worse become trite. But Jesse Kornbluth is a master writer. He is a phraseologist—“eyes as grey as Nantucket fog” or “her real scent was money” or how about “bodies were so kneaded and massaged that Kobe beef would be jealous” and the story rises—pun intended—to a thoughtful exploration of how sex can drive our lives into greater meaning or potentially destroy it. We are allowed into the male mind, with all of it’s strengths and vulnerabilities, as the story unfolds. There is no real surprise to the story, but that isn’t why we read a story like this. We read it to discover how the characters resolve their inner conflicts, what they learn about themselves and each other, and in turn, what we might learn, though we suspect that this is a story that creates more profound questions than provides answers.
As I read the novel, I was reminded of the depth of understanding and unique insights on love, commitment and avoidance that Milan Kundera gave us in his wonderful work, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” I was delighted when near the end of “Married Sex”, Kornbluth paid homage to Kundera with a quote, eloquently used by his character Greenfield to “talk” to his wife, Blair, in the literary code of connection. It’s the kind of code that a writer might use himself, in his own life, with his own wife. A wise and wonderful read.