The Late, Lamented Molly Marx has a very interesting premise. The novel begins with Molly in a place called Duration, watching over the mourners at her funeral. Immediately the reader knows that our protagonist is dead and there is no hope for her resurrection. Itís a creative introduction; this will be a completely different novel than most. Instead of rooting for Molly, the reader roots for those she left behind to pick up the pieces and live their lives to the fullest. There is also the question of Mollyís death, and whether it was a murder or an accident.
It is initially unclear whether Molly remembers what happened to her the night of her death. She watches over the detective investigating her death but doesnít show much emotion. As the novel builds and the mystery deepens, she begins to grow interested in the investigation.
The flashback technique employed in here works well. Knowing the outcome of the novel doesnít detract from the readerís enjoyment as we learn about Mollyís history. We watch Molly as her life progresses, understanding the circumstances that led to her death. As she watches those she loved and reviews her life, Molly realizes how difficult it is to see those she loved cope with her death Ė and hardest to watch her young daughter, Annabel, know that she will have to learn to live without her mother.
The Late, Lamented Molly Marxís strength lies in the narratorís wit and charm. Molly is an appealing storyteller, and the reader is sucked into her story. Our desire to understand her death is directly tied to our emotional connection with her. In the end, this understanding is a little disappointing Ė the resolution isnít all we may have hoped for. Still, it is appropriate to the major themes of the novel.
Worth noting is the novelís interesting take on adultery. Often when a person cheats, whether in a book or in real life, the assumption is that something is missing in their existing relationship, that the adultery is a reaction to what they donít have. Molly presents the argument that sometimes that isnít the case Ė sometimes a person really does simply fall in love. Adultery is a tricky subject in any novel; presenting it sympathetically is that much more difficult. Itís hard to tell whether Koslow fully succeeds in this endeavor, but either way she makes Mollyís situation sympathetic.
Despite the serious subjects contained within, The Late, Lamented Molly Marx is a fun, entertaining read. Its unique premise combined with the sympathetic narrator makes this a book chick lit fans donít want to miss.