Cover image for Cape May : [a novel] / Chip Cheek.
Title:
Cape May : [a novel] / Chip Cheek.
Author:
ISBN:
9781250231109

9781250297150
Edition:
First U.S. edition
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Celadon Books, 2019.
Physical Description:
248 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from jacket.
Abstract:
"It's 1957, and Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon. It's September, though, and the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. There's Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara's lover; and Alma, Max's aloof and mysterious half sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn. The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences."--Page 4 of cover.

September, 1957. Henry and Effie, newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon. They meet Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara's lover; and Alma, Max's aloof and mysterious half sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn. The off-season beach town becomes their playground, and they sneak into abandoned summer homes, walk naked under the stars, make love... and Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal. -- adapted from jacket
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Summary

Summary

"Inside this mesmerizing tale of sexual desire and discovery, naive newlyweds Henry and Effie are honeymooning in Cape May, N.J., in 1957, tentatively navigating intimacy. Then they meet Clara and Max, hard-partying lovers who dazzle the innocent pair until they've lost more than their virginity. Cheek's sensual first novel leaves you wanting more."
- PEOPLE

"Henry and Effie's honeymoon is meant to be their introduction to the pleasures of the body, but in the company of Clara and her promiscuous cohort they lose all track of boundaries. A dozy, luxurious sense of enchantment comes over the story, until the rude awakening at its finale.... Cape May does something better than critique or satirize: It seduces."
- The Wall Street Journal


A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel south corrupted by sophisticated New England urbanites.

Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara's lover; and Alma, Max's aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whomHenry is irresistibly drawn.

The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.

Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.


Author Notes

Chip Cheek 's stories have appeared in The Southern Review , Harvard Review , Washington Square , and other journals and anthologies. He has been awarded scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Tin House Summer Writers' Workshop, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. Cape May is his debut novel. He lives in El Segundo, California, with his wife and baby daughter.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cheek's strong debut is a psychodrama that shows just how easily people can be manipulated. Henry, 20, and Effie, 18, are young, virginal newlyweds from rural Georgia on their honeymoon in Cape May, N.J., in 1957, arriving in the off-season of September, when it's largely deserted. Just kids, they are naive and unprepared for their meeting with three worldly hedonists who introduce them to booze, lust, and sexual obsession. Clara is a free-spirited, wealthy socialite, Max is her bodybuilder lover, and Alma is Max's cunning younger half sister. The trio's bawdy, vulgar drunkenness fascinates the newlyweds, especially Henry, who is charmed by Clara and sexually seduced by Alma. Henry's guilt is quickly rationalized as he carelessly surrenders his conscience to his sexual obsession of Alma. His need is insatiable, but her unreasonable demands force him to make promises he cannot keep. Cheek does a good job with his cast; Henry and Effie are finely drawn and their slide from innocence starkly depicted. The novel's ending is particularly startling-a memorable final note in this cogent examination of marital infidelity and betrayal. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

DEBUT In 1957, young and naïve newlywed couple Henry and Effie travel from their small Georgia town to Cape May, NJ, for their honeymoon at a relative's vacant seaside cottage. They don't expect the shore to be practically deserted by September and are about to leave early when they encounter a sophisticated trio who invite them to stay and join their ongoing party. Glamorous socialite Clara; her wealthy lover, Max; and his half-sister, Alma, draw the young couple, particularly Henry, into their heady world of anything goes, including breaking into empty houses for kicks. Fueled by large amounts of gin, they are soon plunging headlong into the sort of frenzied bacchanal that calls to mind California in the Sixties and Seventies more than 1950s New Jersey. But can these "babes in the woods," as Clara calls them, kick over the traces of their upbringing so abruptly without any repercussions? VERDICT This erotic debut novel will draw in readers and stay with them. The author's perceptive exploration of innocence and experience, corruption and betrayal, makes for compelling reading. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/18.]-Leslie -Patterson, Rehoboth, MA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.