Yes! We finally printed the third issue of The Milan Review and it is available at The Store, although we cannot currently sell the book to U.S. customers.
We decided to call it The Milan Review of Adultery. This is because it consists entirely of Travels in Central America, a new novella by Clancy Martin, that we are publishing as a worldwide exclusive, which is made up of 66 micro-chapters that tell mostly of sleeping with somebody other than your husband/wife. It is also (principally) a love story and it is also (largely) about drinking too much and also (slightly) about Central America, but mostly, yes, it’s about sleeping with somebody other than your husband/wife.
Clancy Martin is a Canadian philosopher, essayist, translator and novelist. His first novel, How to Sell (FSG, 2009), was a Times Literary Supplement “Best Book of 2009″ (chosen by Craig Raine), and a “Best Book of 2009″ for The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, The Kansas City Star. He was a 2011-2012 Guggenheim Fellow, and is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine. He is professor and chair of philosophy at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Review of Books, VICE, The Times Literary Supplement, Ethics, The Journal of the History of Philosophy, GQ, Esquire, Details, Bookforum, and many other newspapers, magazines and journals, and has been translated into more than twenty languages.
Scroll down after the pictures to read the book’s first three chapters.
All photos by Bea De Giacomo
One of us had to watch our hotel in Tulum during the storm, so I was flying into Cancun International and renting a car. The hurricane had closed all the airports on the coast, and my flight was delayed, and then cancelled. As I was walking out of the airport, I heard an announcement my flight was boarding. It was the last flight into Cancun. When I got to the hotel, I told the story to the clerk and she laughed and upgraded me to a suite. “It will just sit empty anyway,” she told me, as though she were apologizing for the change. “We’re getting flooded with cancellations.” I asked her for an envelope, put sixty dollars into it, and handed it back to her. The room was enormous, with a dining room table, a kitchen in case you’d brought your own cook, and floor-to-ceiling windows with long views of the ocean. The waves were huge and confused in the storm, and they stretched as far as I could see in the rain.
It was ten in the morning.
I paced around the room, looked at myself in the mirror, went to the bathroom, and then opened my computer on the desk. I sat for a few minutes, trying to tell myself I could write, and then moved to the bed and read the room service menu. When I came to the wine list in the back, I closed it. I went over to the window, leaned my forehead against the cold glass, and stared down the ten stories. My forehead made a smear on the glass. I got a coke light from the minibar. Then I took off my shoes and jacket and sat on the couch to call Paul.
“I’m already lonely for you,” I said. It was the day after Christmas, and the truth was I was glad for a break. Paul’s boys had been out of school for a week and his family had visited for the holidays. His mother was a friend of mine but she had a way of taking over the house. She was a devoted grandmother but the boys were nervous around her, because she was wealthy and uptight and dressed carefully each morning. Paul’s father was there now—his parents were divorced—and he was clingy and demanding. He frequently needed to go to the pharmacy or the grocery store to buy things. But he hated Mexico City—they were from a small town in Massachusetts—and he’d get lost if he drove himself. He was good with the boys but he liked to tell us how to parent them. Also, after a few days Paul felt like he had a third child in the house.
“My dad is driving me crazy. He keeps getting angry when I won’t stay up and watch a movie with him. We watched two Burt Reynolds movies last night and he wasn’t satisfied. Hurry home,” he said. “I need you here right now.”
“I’m sorry. One of us had to go. It’s three nights. I really should be there for at least a week. And I’ve already got a little writing done. It’s so quiet here, with the hurricane, there’s nothing else to do.”
“You wrote? That’s good. I told you. How’s the Ritz?”
“It hasn’t changed. Anyway, without you, it’s a room. It doesn’t matter.”
We didn’t have anything to talk about but I didn’t want him to get off the phone.
I called my friend Sadie, a doctor from Galveston, Texas. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years, and she was driving to Cancun to meet me for the weekend. She wasn’t afraid of the weather.
I hadn’t told Paul Sadie was coming. Not for any reason. I knew it would annoy him. It was supposed to be a necessary but unfortunate work trip and I wasn’t supposed to enjoy myself. But I should have told him. He had never been crazy about Sadie. “She’s trouble,” he always said about her. “All psychiatrists are crazy. But she’s not just ordinary crazy. She’s crazy about sex. She tries to sleep with me every time she visits.” “Paul, she does not.” Maybe she did, a little. But she didn’t mean anything by it.
“Man! These roads are for shit. I’d turn around right now if it weren’t for you.”
“I’m glad you’re coming. Thanks. You want to go to Pobrecito’s? I’ll make a reservation.”
“You’re buying. Hell, I’m almost in town, I’ll come to your hotel. No, you’re not invited, buddy, sorry. I’m dropping you off the minute we cross the border, like you said. Del la What? That on the coast?”
“What?” I had no idea what she was talking about.
“That’s where they catch those green lobsters, right?”
“Tell me you didn’t pick up a hitchhiker, Sadie.”
“I have you on the speakerphone, Brett, watch what you say.” I heard her pick up the phone. “He’s a college kid. No? Well, what’s with the bandanna? You want any of this? Okay, fine. Well, just hold it, would ya? It’s a pipe, buddy, it don’t bite.”
“Sadie, I gotta go.”
“Can you believe this rain? Beautiful, actually. All the colors.”
“I’ll see you when you get here. Just valet under my name.”
“You just called. Alright. Set up that restaurant.”
I thought about calling Paul back but I knew he was busy with his dad and the boys. I needed to work. Before I started I checked my email. Three emails from an Italian publisher panicking about a manuscript I had promised him for months. Dozens of emails from Fab, Dwell and Tablet. A request to blurb a book. Fan mail. An invitation to sit on someone’s doctoral dissertation. I started to switch into Word, when I saw there was one from Paul’s banker. “I’m in Cancun,” was the header.
“Do you have time for a cup of coffee today or tonight? Paul said you’re here. I was supposed to be in Panama, but I’m stuck with everybody else. They say I’ll get a flight tomorrow. Yrs, Eduard.”
Eduard and I had met briefly once at a party nearly a decade before, but I didn’t remember it. I only knew because Paul told me so.
“He’s not the kind of man you would notice,” Paul said. “He’s old, a bit chubby, and he doesn’t know how to dress.”
I didn’t want to meet with Eduard but thought I probably should. Plus now Paul would find out Sadie was in Cancun.
I wrote to Eduard. “I have a friend in town from Texas, a psychiatrist I’ve known since high school, but if you want to meet us, it would be great. I’d love to hang out. What’s a good bar? You’d be doing me a favor, in fact. My friend Sadie is a drinker, and this way she’ll have a drinking buddy.”
Eduard wrote back immediately: “I don’t know the bars in Cancun. I’ll try to find a place close to your hotel.”