Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Widower's Tale

Well, Julia Glass did not let me down. What a wonderful group of characters to spend time with. What a lovely respite from the outrageous characters I have to spend time with in the news. Up here it's the Washington Post every morning so I feel like I really have a pulse on the doings of the nation's capital, just 30 minutes away. By the way, I'm totally apologetic that I didn't get myself into DC last Saturday for the anti-Beck rally. Don doesn't do crowds and I don't drive in the city. Not a very committed progressive, am I?

So, back to my recommendation of Ms. Glass's latest novel. She has a talent for rendering family relationships, the tensions, the love, the hard work and aggravation that comes with nurturing and sustaining them over the long haul. The people in her novels are not one dimensional. Like all of us they can be annoying one minute and huggable the next. While Clover is a dreamer who always has to be bailed out by her dad, Trudy is an overachiever who depletes her load of compassion on her patients and therefore has none left for her sister.

Trudy's son Robert is supposed to be following in his mom's footsteps, training at Harvard for a career in medicine, but a svengali-like relationship with his mysterious roommate Arturo, a rabid environmentalist, will result in an unexpected detour that may notactually be all  bad.

Sarah Straight, the fifty something mom who caught the older Percy's eye, will have to face some demons of her own and the means that she chooses, controversial and appropos in light of the current health care crisis in our country, will be painful to Percy and difficult to comprehend.

Ira, a gentle teacher, driven from his previous post by a homophobic parent, seems to have found safety and acceptance at last at the school on Percy's property, but his long time relationship with Anthony, a lawyer known as The Python, is cracking under the strain of Anthony's push for a showy, in-your-face wedding.

Glass beautifully uses these folks to examine the oldest theme in the book. People needing people, choosing to live with the mess of interaction as opposed to solitary neatness, opening ourselves up  again and again to the possibility of loss for the joy of letting someone in, these are the dilemmas that face us in fiction and in life. Do with them as you will.

No comments: