An emotionally powerful, poetic novel about a woman's struggle with the complexities of modern romance and the conflicting impulses of her heart and her mind. Lucy, a professor at a university near Boston, is turning forty. She has achieved what, as a romantic, novel-reading girl of the suburbs, she set out to do in her life: have affairs, travel, and write books--biographies of women that read like novels. Now Lucy wants more. She seeks not just love (she has had that) or just any marriage (she discovers she is not that desperate) but a true companion with whom she can make a home. Lucy is also haunted by the fact that, at forty, her chance of having a child is slipping away. There are three very different men in her life, but none can join her in her vision of home and family. David, an older man and fellow professor, is quite content to be with Lucy on the weekends and to have his house and his work all to himself the rest of the week. Arthur, who has just taken a job at the university and is caring for his dying wife, is attracted to Lucy, but his desire for her is more fantasy than anything he might act upon. Michael, a historian of gardens who is on sabbatical in Japan with a wife he no longer loves, has left Lucy with memories of a tumultuous, passionate affair and no hope for the future. It is time for Lucy to act for herself and make her vision of a new life a reality. Marilyn Sides invokes the beauty of faraway places and employs rich, lyrical language to describe Lucy's quest for a profoundly ordinary life. The Genius of Affection confirms Bob Shacochis' praise for Marilyn Sides's collection of stories, The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife & Other Tales: "What a fascinating and original mind has Marilyn Sides, a writer whose head and heart brim with the unlimited world. . . . Ms. Sides makes writing itself seem like a dangerous and erotic pleasure."