Say When by P-SimonSchuster


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									Say When
Author: Elizabeth Berg

Ellen, he thought, and the name seemed to him to hold everything he might possibly want to say to
her....He looked at her lying on her side of the bed, looked too at the space she had left beside her. That
was his side, because he was her husband. And she was his wife."Griffin is a happy man. Settled
comfortably in a Chicago suburb, he adores his eight-year-old daughter, Zoe, and his wife, Ellen -- shy,
bookish Ellen, who is as dependable as she is dependent on him for his stability and his talent for gently
controlling the world they inhabit. But when he wakes one morning to hear of his wife's love affair with
another man and her request for a divorce, Griffin's view of life is irrevocably altered. Overnight he goes
from being Ellen's husband to being her roommate, from a lover to a man denied passion and
companionship. Now he must either move on or fight for his marriage, forgive his wife or condemn her for
her betrayal, deny or face up to his part in the sudden undoing of his seemingly perfect life. From the New
York Times bestselling author of Open House and True to Form comes a brilliant novel that charts the
days and nights of a family whose normalcy has been shattered. With startling clarity and a trademark
blend of humor and poignancy, Say When follows a man on an emotional journey to redefine his notions
about love and happiness and asks questions relevant to any contemporary couple: when is a
relationship worth saving and when is it better to let it go? Might a man and a woman define betrayal
differently? How honest are we with those to whom we are ostensibly closest?Searingly honest, Say
When is an engaging and memorable story that takes readers into the heart of a modern marriage, where
intimacy and love, denial and pain, so often collide.

Chapter OneOf course he knew she was seeing someone. He knew who it was, too. Six months ago,
saying she needed a new direction in her life, saying she was tired of feeling helpless around anything
mechanical, that she had no idea how to even change a tire, Ellen had taken a course in basic auto
mechanics -- "Know Your Car," it was called. She'd come back the first night saying it was amazing,
she'd had the admittedly elitist idea that mechanics were illiterate, but this one was so well-spoken, and
he'd walked into the classroom carrying a pile of books he'd just bought -- hardback! Mostly new fiction,
she'd said. But also Balzac, because he'd never read him. "How do you know?" Griffin had asked."Know
what?" "How do you know he's never read Balzac?""Because he told me. I had a question after class and
then we just started talking....""What was your question?"She stared at him, a tight smile on her face.
Then she said, "My question was about the battery.""But what about it?"She looked down, embarrassed.
"I wanted to know how you clean it. Okay?""Why didn't you ask me?""Oh, for -- ""No. Why didn't you ask
me? I could have told you.""Because," she said, slowly and deliberately, "it never came up between us. It
came up because I am taking a class about cars. And I had a question for the teacher. Jesus, Griffin.
What is this?""Nothing," he'd said. "Forget it."Griffin didn't forget it, of course. Week after week, he'd
watched Ellen dress for class, each time paying more attention to herself: fresh eyeliner just before she
left one week, a more deliberate hairstyle the next, a lingering scent of perfume in the bedroom the night
she'd gotten ready for the last class -- the ridiculously expensive perfume Griffin had given her for her last
birthday, for the record. He felt helpless against her drift toward another man, felt as though he were
standing around stirring change in his pocket when he should be waging an earth-pawing kind of war. But
the truth was that from the time he'd married her ten years ago, he'd been waiting for something like this
to happen. She was always just beyond his grasp, in one way or another. He supposed, actually, that her
cool reserve was one of the things that attracted him to her. She couldn't be serious about this obvious
attraction to someone else. She was nearing forty, that was all. He would let her have this, this secret
relationship, this thrilling little romance. Let her and Mr. Goodwrench meet for coffee and have moony-
eyed discussions about Mary Oliver and Pablo Neruda and Seamus Heaney, all of Ellen's precious poets.
Let her talk until she was finally exhausted by all that "so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow" crap,
by all those supposedly deep thoughts written by people who were undoubtedly a bunch of first-class
hypocrites. Ellen seemed to think her pale gods spent all of their time sitting at their desks in rapturous
torture, scribbling away with quill pens, when in fact they were probably mostly standing around
scratching their asses and contemplating the contents of their refrigerators just like everybody else. It
might actually be a relief for her to have someone to talk about that stuff with, so she would finally stop
trying to make Griffin swoon over it -- though lately she'd been pretty good about not asking him to read
anything. She wasn't sleeping with the guy, Griffin was sure of...
Author Bio
Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg is the author of ten national bestselling novels, including the New York Times bestsellers
True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection in 2000.
Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as American Library Association Best Books of the Year,
and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY award in 1996. The winner of the 1997 New England
Booksellers Award for her body of work, she is also the author of a nonfiction work, Escaping Into the
Open: The Art of Writing True. She lives in Chicago.<br/>

Like Range of Motion and Talk Before Sleep, [Never Change] is about the wisdom and closeness that
crisis can bring. The narrative road thatleads to them is funny, poetic, and moving.

Never Change is a five-tissue-box novel...Elizabeth Berg has written one of the most dramatic and
beautiful books of her career,one that celebrates life to the fullest.

Savvy, wry, and sharply observant...Berg's graceful and deceptively simple prose is laced with clear-eyed
insights...deft and inspiring.

(Spokane, WA) [True to Form] is written with great tenderness and understanding and takesreaders back
to their own days of awakening...It flows with grace and beauty and a clarity that have not been so
inspiring since some of the classicists.

Berg knows her characters intimately...she gets under their skin and leaves the reader with an indelible
impression of lives challenged and changed.

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