Shouldn’t your spouse be your best friend? The title “Prosperous Friends” hints at the term “friends with benefits”, a concept even more intriguing since the characters are married.
Ned and Isabel are both writers, who struggle in their relationship. They compete in their writing and in how much they can hurt each other. Married right out of grad school, they travel and collect friends, friends of one or the other, never both, friends with benefits, friends with secrets, friends with gifts they both benefit from even when one hates the benefactor. Theirs is a relationship to hate.
Prosperous Friends is an intimate look at bad marriages – Isabel and Ned’s and later that of Dinah and Cliff whose lives intersect theirs in several, unexpected ways.
And the strange couple of the pro and epilogue who exist only on the periphery but with accurate perspective.
Prosperous Friends is a finalist for the Pullitzer Prize and the National Book Award. It is prose at its finest – details reported without a word wasted. Skim over a page and you’ll miss a detail and be forced to reread a chapter to answer the question, “How did they get there?”
With lines like “I need to be happy more of the time” and “Real excitement at a wedding at last”, words spoken by married people, you’ll ask yourself, “Do people really live this way?” The epilogue, maybe, your answer.