Review

Random Hearts

by Warren Adler

It's
often said that someone outside a marriage can never understand
what goes on inside it. The relationship is defined by a million
tiny nuances, habits and gestures that shape it. Whether a marriage
works, or does not, cannot be explored by someone outside the
relationship who is not privy to these moments between the
couple.
RANDOM HEARTS is the story of Vivien and Edward, two people who
are thrust inside each other's lives --- and marriages --- because
of their unfaithful spouses. They explore their marriages as a way
to discover why their spouses cheated on them --- and when and how.
Exploring the intimacy of these relationships has them looking at
painful topics as they look not only at themselves, but also at
what their marriages actually were beyond what they appeared to be.
As they dig deeper into the stories, they also find themselves
attracted to one another and the relationship between them
grows.
It
is also the story of Lily and Orson, their spouses --- the other
random hearts that came together and unraveled the
marriages.
The
book opens with Lily and Orson dashing out of town for a four-day
weekend together. They are at a juncture in the affair where
decisions need to be made and they are looking forward to exploring
them together. Disaster strikes as their plane crashes and their
secrets are unraveled by a police detective. This same detective
caught his wife in a dalliance with his best friend the year before
and becomes preoccupied with the case. Readers see his need to
understand his own story through Vivien and Edward. He delivers the
news of their spouses' deaths with compassion, but also seems to be
exploring their reactions to try to come to terms with
his.
Vivien and Edward look for the fractures in what they felt were
solid relationships often painfully seeing their own failures, as
well as those of their spouses. They ask each other probing
questions that dig deep, but together they put together the story
of what happened. The book is its strongest when it explores the
inner marriages. We see how often Vivien and Edward were unhappy
with elements of their partnerships, but never rocked the boat or
carried a big opinion. Their roles seemingly worked within the
framework of their relationship, but they now have learned to
question who they were and how they impacted the
marriages.
The
Sony movie Random Hearts is based on this book. Reading the book I
kept visualizing Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas as Edward
and Vivien. It had me juggling the story in a different
way.
One
mistake I did note --- the flap copy refers to Vivien having a
daughter when in fact she has a son. I think the one failure of the
story is the way she walks away from her child as a symbol of
something that is Orson's. I am not sure any mother as devoted to
her child as Vivien would do that. But then again, the jolt and the
jar of realizing that your entire world is not what it seems may
also skew this part of the story to evolve like this.
Written by Warren Adler, who also authored THE WAR OF THE
ROSES, RANDOM HEARTS is a story of love --- and its
mystery.

Reviewed by Carol Fitzgerald on January 23, 2011

Random Hearts
by Warren Adler

  • Publication Date: September 7, 1999
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0345436121
  • ISBN-13: 9780345436122