Review: Made For Love
Hazel, the protagonist in Alissa Nutting’s raucous second novel, “Made for Love,” is like a lot women trying to escape a toxic relationship — she’s fearful, she second-guesses herself, she worries about building a new life alone.
But since she’s in an Alissa Nutting novel, and a darn good one at that, Hazel’s life is filled with absurdities, the strange, wonderful sort that would happen if George Saunders and Mary Gaitskill ever decided to collaborate: heartfelt, sexy and oddly moving.
Set in the not too distant future, Hazel’s evil genius husband, Byron, is infiltrating the world with his Gogol Industries products, from helmets that use wave patterns to induce sleep to SmartFilters that send alerts when atypical substances go down the drain.
When Byron demands he and Hazel be permanently connected via a brain chip mind-meld, Hazel bolts the confines of the Gogol compound for good.
But how to hide from the world’s largest technology giant?
Hazel goes analog and bunks in the most backward place available: her estranged father’s trailer in a Florida retirement community.
Here she befriends an assortment of unplugged characters including a gruff leathered man named Liver and her father’s new love, a lifelike redheaded sex doll improbably named Diane.
As Byron’s attempts to woo her back become increasingly violent, Hazel is forced to take drastic measures to break free and finally live an unsupervised, unrestricted existence.
Nutting’s writing is filled with punchy humor and over-the-top scenarios.
But like the best comedy these hilarious fabulisms poke at common truths until they bleed, resulting in oddly poignant turns about the voids technology builds and fills in our lives, as well as how no matter how hard one tries — with a man, a doll, or a dolphin — love can’t be forced.
After all, not everyone is made for love.