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The age of grief : a novella and stories
Jane Smiley
Adult Fiction SMILEY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With authenticity, insight, sensitivity and an unobstrusive yet absorbing prose style, Smiley (Duplicate Keys portrays pained individuals who yearn for idyllic companionship, plus the contentment and security that they imagine it entails. In ``The Pleasure of Her Company,'' one of five short stories, a lonely pediatric nurse establishes a rapport with her new neighbors. Convinced that married couples share an inviolable, almost mystical bond that outsiders cannot fathom, she makes the unwelcome discovery that their apparent harmony is a facade. ``Lily'' is the tale of a love-hungry young poet whose bickering married friends arrive for a visit; Lily boldly hastens their break-up. In ``Dynamite,'' a former Barnard College radical still wanted by the FBI impulsively heads back to New York for the reassuring presence of her family. The novella from which this slim volume takes its title brilliantly shows a husband's agony when his wife's affection turns elsewhere. During a crisis over her infidelity, he emerges as an unforgettably valiant character: vulnerable, hurt, bewildered, though never without patience. This novella's quietly dramatic resolution is both appropriate and rewarding. (September 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

These five stories and one novella catch the Sixties generation in middle age, at moments of reconsideration and regret. ``I am thirty-five years old and it seems to me that I have arrived at the age of grief,'' says the title tale's protagonist, stricken by the loss of his wife's love. In ``Long Distance'' an emotional drifter faces the consequences of self-absorption at a family Christmas gathering. The other selections depict sensitive women shattered as marriages and friendships end, a calculating personality who tricks an acquaintance into fatherhood, and a former violent radical longing for her abandoned home. Disturbing yet recognizable characters and Smiley's knack for dialogue and the telling detail make these narratives memorable. Recommended for most fiction collections. Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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