"Our bodies are another language, but no one speaks it. People just shout at each other and make noise and call it making love," says one of the characters in The Language Nobody Speaks. Eugene Mirabelli's fourth novel is a breathless study of human sensuality and our clumsy attempts to find the meaning buried inside our physical passions.
In Albany, New York, for a conference in the Eisenhower years, a young mathemetician named Bart runs into a woman he'd met at a friend's wedding almost a year earlier, here now for a job interview. Bart (whose car has just broken down) and Erin are both on their ways out of town, to Boston and New York, but the flame of attraction they'd each felt when they first met convinces them to have dinner together. They find a small restaurant a short bit away; when they enter, Bart recognizes an acquaintance, Hollis Lord, who's there with his wife Lida. The Lords ask Bart and Erin to join them for dinner, and there begins the young lovers' often reluctant but always heated involvement with the older couple.
Hollis and Lida are an attractive, intelligent pair. They offer to show Bart and Erin around Albany, then invite them along to stay for just one night at an old-fashioned spa in Saratoga Springs while Bart's car is repaired. Bart and Erin, in the heady rush of fierce physical attraction and with an accidental voyeuristic glimpse into the erotic life of the older couple, begin a journey toward an understanding about the human condition. They find that sensual love, written in the untranslatable language of our bodies, can take us down paths we never meant to go, and that the meaning we come to at the ends of those paths can be about life or death, beauty or pain. What we choose to do with our physical selves are choices made mutely but often savagely, and try as we might, we can't always commute the dialect of sex into a vocabulary our minds can understand.
Eugene Mirabelli writes convincingly of a tempestuous but inevitable sensual collision of two couples, four people looking for love and lamenting its inability to let them rise above their histories and fears. Honestly erotic, The Language Nobody Speaks makes perfect sense to the bodies that speak it.