Noah gives a reading, nicely coincidentally in the bookstore at Williams College, which Whitney and Helen are visiting as a possible college for Whitney. In a good subplot, she doesn't want to go to college - she wants to model - but in a true author's touch Noah invites Helen to the reading. This is exactly what a self-absorbed author would do. In Helen's version, she rolls her eyes and of course declines, but she of course shows up anyway. He reads a passage about their relationship. My wife correctly called Noah's deliberate choice of that passage because Helen was in the audience. And, in Noah's version, we see him switching to that passage after he begins with another - a hot shower scene with "Alison".
Also in the audience is a student book reviewer, who has savaged Noah's novel in the student paper. Although Noah has otherwise been receiving rave reviews, this pan really nettles him. As my grandmother used to say, if you stub one of your toes, the fact that your other nine toes are fine doesn't make that hurt toe feel any better. This captures exactly the way Noah and all authors feel about reviews of their books. Anything less than adulation hurts like that stubbed toe.
The student reviewer also delivers the bad news that Noah has lost the Pen Faulkner Prize - hey, I haven't read his novel, but from what I've heard of it on The Affair, I certainly would have voted for it. Noah, again unerringly typical of any writer, attributes his loss to reverse discrimination against a white male writer like himself.
Meanwhile, surrounding this gem of an episode about the writerly life, we get an important development in the bombshell that was released last week. Helen has a pacifier from Alison's baby, which she gives to Noah's lawyer. This will provide DNA, and prove whether the baby is Scott's or Noah's (again, as I mentioned last week, I don't know if the DNA will show if the baby is Cole's or Scott's).
Exciting times ahead on The Affair. In the meantime, here's a reading I did of one of my novels, Unburning Alexandria, a few years ago. Alas, it didn't win the Pen Faulkner Prize either.
podcast review of every 1st season episode