Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review: Exclusive by Barbara Fischkin

Exclusive: Reporters in Love...and War: A NovelI really enjoyed Barbara Fischkin's novel Exclusive: Reporters in Love...and War. From the back cover:

In this fast paced, sharp-witted debut inspired by the author's real-life adventures, two sparring ace reporters do their best to outrun, outsmart and outscoop each other. Who knew they'd find love?

Barbara Fischkin was on the fast track to the big leagues of journalism. Then she ran head-on into Jim Mulvaney, a fast-talking blue-eyed Irishman on a track all his own. In Mulvaney's world, there can only be one star. but he wouldn't mind a little help from an attractive newswoman... So begins an outrageous love-and-hate affair between a Jewish girl from Brooklyn and an Irish lad from Queens whose barstool connetions reach all the way to the IRA. Within months, trading drink for drink, barb for barb, and scoop for scoop, Fischkin and Mulvaney are breaking stories all around the world, uncovering tales of corruption and intrigue from Flatbush to Belfast and beyond--and making news of their own: in a little scandal called marriage...

This book was just a lot of fun, and also filled with brilliant quotes. Sometimes it strained the limits of my credulity just a little, in the details, but the characters are nicely fleshed out and overall believable. The minor gaps in the plots are easily glossed over, I think, since the pace is so quick and the voice so winning. One has no time to stop and gawk at the little challenges to credulity. The writing, while filled with humor, is also quite poetic at times. I think it's rare to find an author who can blend humor and lyrical writing.

Here are a few quotes I enjoyed:

You could accuse Mulvaney of many things, but being a Joycean wasn't among them. (Fischkin, p. 216). Is my dislike of Joyce showing?

What was it with Irish men? They try to seduce you, then look aghast if you merely give them the hint that they might succeed. (p. 210)

"The book is over, then," he says.
"The book is over. This may be a book about a simple romance. But no romance is ever simple. They all begin like this. And none of them ever end." (p. 287)

I must admit to having a slight bias, as well, for love stories about marriages. Most novels seem to focus on pursuit and courtship, and end with the happy-ending of the wedding. But to me, the real romance is in the marriage. MJ and I had quite the drama-filled courtship, full of banter and fighting and making-up and goodbyes and reunion. There's little drama now, the pressure mostly from the outside world and not from each other. But there's still the banter and passion, still challenges to face together. I love books about marriages, because let me tell you, there's a fight. There's adventure and romance. The courtship isn't the best part of the story.

A lot of this novel is about the courtship (actually, a classic boy meets girl, boy pursues girl storyline), but it's about the marriage, too. I like that.  And I enjoyed the characters, dialogue, voice and humor. This is a library book, but it's one I'd contemplate adding to my personal bookshelf and re-reading.

This is book #3 for the 2010 Book Challenge I'm doing -- check it out


Sarah said...
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Sarah said...

Hey I commented after you over at

I love your review. It's really thoughtful. This novel sounds really interesting. I have to say that Irish lads really catch my attention. I spent a semester in Ireland a year ago. Now anything Irish has a warm place in my heart.

I think I will add this one to my book list :)

Guinevere said...

Sarah, I've never been to Ireland, but it's tops on my list of places I need to visit!

Thanks for stopping by. :)