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BOOK REVIEW: The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow


The Late, Lamented Molly MarxMolly Marx’s death happened suddenly and police are trying to determine the cause of death. Last seen riding her bike through Riverside Park, her body is found on the bank of the Hudson River and it is uncertain if her death was accidental, suicide or murder. While Detective Hicks tries to uncover the truth about her death, Molly tries to adjust to life in Duration and learn the rules governing the recently deceased.

When Molly learns that she can watch those she’s left behind and that she’s been gifted with a preternatural bullshit detector, she is delighted. Her observations of her four-year-old daughter Annabel, her twin sister Lucy, her husband Barry and her best friend Brie lead Molly down memory lane and, as readers learn more about Molly’s past, the mist begins to clear on her present and her death.

Sally Koslow’s new book The Late, Lamented Molly Marx is an exploration of marriage, family life and friendship. Molly and Barry’s marriage was far from perfect. Despite the fact that he never ceased his infidelities, there was love within their marriage. As Molly reflects on her life and the months prior to her death, readers learn that marriage and fidelity are never black and white issues.

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx could easily have slid off the rails into a morass of self-pity but Koslow imbued Molly with strength of character. Instead of wailing “why me,” Molly reviews her choices, accepts responsibility for them and slowly finds peace in the Duration (Koslow’s concept of the afterlife).

While Molly rightly occupies centre-stage in Koslow’s novel, the secondary characters’ (her friends and family) growth, presented through Molly’s evolving perception and omniscient narration, is fascinating. Detective Hicks is dogged in his pursuit of the truth and what started as a standard template characterization becomes fully-fledged and commanding of reader’s empathy.

The only serious complaint that could be made about The Late, Lamented Molly Marx is Molly’s twin sister Lucy. The incident at Annabel’s day-care felt awkward and Lucy felt flat. Koslow could have explored the twin connection more, instead of keep Lucy as sharp angles that appeared to fight the narrative.

ISBN10: 0345506200
ISBN13: 9780345506207

320 Pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
Author Website:

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