... a small but mighty tale of aspiration and marriage gone wrong ... it reminded me of A Room of One’s Own with a few wicked twists ... eyebrow raising, tantalizing and unforgettable ... a fable infused with an old-fashioned moral: Be careful what you wish for. But don’t get the wrong idea; it’s not all doom and gloom. Cain’s story has its funny moments ... I felt compelled to mull over the questions at the heart of this small but mighty book ... Cain’s tale made me want to grab a highlighter ... not escapist reading, but it is fuel, pushing you to do the thing you love ... Like a patient gym teacher coaching a lazy student, Cain whispered beautiful words into her megaphone, and I listened.
Unlike many of Cain’s stories, Indelicacy does not forgo plot altogether, but it does continue to frame the story line in ways that leave much of the information outside the reader’s view ... From the beginning, then, we know the marriage will end—which makes reading the book like the experience of viewing a painting from a distance, seeing the whole of it at once, and then stepping forward to examine subtler details. These subtler details are not what one might expect; for a novel whose ostensible plot is about a woman getting married, and marrying up, no less, few words are devoted to the relationship, to what wife and husband say to or do with each other ... The story of a marriage is generally meant to impose order on the novel, to subordinate each moment to a larger design. In Indelicacy, this story finds itself subordinate to other forms of female pleasure and desire: friendship, sex, dancing, writing, daydreaming.
Indelicacy is ekphrastic, but sparingly so. You get the sense that our author, as well as our heroine, is aware of the limits of words; the visual is conjured as much by what is absent. Her bone-clean prose creates a sense of immersion in a story that feels both mythic and true ... A woman’s search for creativity is not a new subject, yet Cain has made it so. 'How happy I was. I had created an experience for someone; I hadn’t been sure I could actually do that,' says Vitória, when a friend reads her writing—the goal of all art, and one that the author fulfils with an intricate grace that endures long after the setting down of this deceptively slim book.