It Had to Be You by Melissa Malouf
The Joan and Ernest Story

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"Melissa Malouf writes with a directness that instantly captures our attention...Joan and Ernest are as uncanny and memorable a duet as any I've read. In It Had to Be You, we follow the precarious, at times joyful, always mesmerizing tightrope walk of their marriage, which goes from high wit and passion to severe melancholy, and finally to estrangement.
Very smart, very savvy, and frightfully modern in the way she navigates us through the sexual labyrinth of our time, Ms. Malouf writes with wild freedom and hard edge all at once. This novel emanates a kind of wry, anxious, erotic heat."
--Howard Norman

"Melissa Malouf writes almost literally from her intelligence. She has all the other gifts and qualities of an elegant writer; but what is ultimately so haunting and finally so winning about her fiction is the beautifully concealed presence within it of a genuine rarity--a powerful mind always thinking its way through imaginary lives with a hungry curiosity, a passion for sympathy, a tolerant wit, and a guarantee to reward the reader's investment of time and care."
--Reynolds Price

"It Had to Be You is remarkable for its drop-dead irony punctuated by moments of poetic insight."
--Publishers Weekly
March 3, 1997

It Had to Be You is a grown-up story about a marriage not made anywhere within the vicinity of Heaven. Yet it is no mere dysfunctional shoot-out. Joan and Ernest are clearly made for each other. When he tells her, well into the marriage, that "suspense is good," we believe him, maybe even cheer for him. Both of them are, after all, far more fragile than they would like to think they are--which is why they are both a perfect fit and a perfect mismatch, whose dialogue (interior and exterior) brings to the fore the edgy lyrics of some of our favorite "love" songs.


About Melissa Malouf

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Published April 1, 1997 by Avisson Pr Inc. 169 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for It Had to Be You

Publishers Weekly

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In a novel as thin and cool as a disaffected socialite, Malouf (whose No Guarantees was published under her then-married name, Melissa Lentricchia) strings together scenes that are like crisp snapshots of a world in which the surface of things is more important than underlying values.

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