Just Dessert, Dear | General Fiction
Marita van der Vyver
Marita van der Vyver’s latest offering presents familiar quality in a brand-new form – it is a letter novel! Just dessert, dear consists of the letters and emails of a woman forsaken; they are letters that scream with rage, appeal for understanding and cry out for revenge.
The story unfolds in correspondence written over a decade – to an unfaithful husband and female friends – and in this way the reader gets an insightful image of a growth process. It is the story of Clara Brand, whose husband, Bernard, leaves her for Anaïs, one of Clara’s best friends. The letters indicate the various “stations” of Clara’s recovery process: rage, acceptance, new freedom, recovery of her sex life, renewed ties with her ex-husband, the ongoing attempt to raise her children normally and not bruise them. Eventually Bernard’s second marriage also ends up on the rocks (not through Clara’s doing), and when he makes advances to her again, she realises that she is finally free of him, and would be able to sit down with him for a meal as a normal female friend, without any ulterior motives or sexual undertones.
Just Dessert, Dear is a fearless outpouring; it is clever, nuanced and sophisticated. It is an honest, authentic and refreshing portrayal of Graham Green’s statement: “We do not have to win the battle of the sexes, we merely have to survive it.”