The Age of Grief
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The luminous novella and stories in The Age of Grief explore the vicissitudes of love, friendship, and marriage with all the compassion and insight that have come to be expected from Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize—winning author of A Thousand Acres.
In “The Pleasure of Her Company,” a lonely, single woman befriends the married couple next door, hoping to learn the secret of their happiness. In “Long Distance,” a man finds himself relieved of the obligation to continue an affair that is no longer compelling to him, only to be waylaid by the guilt he feels at his easy escape. And in the incandescently wise and moving title novella, a dentist, aware that his wife has fallen in love with someone else, must comfort her when she is spurned, while maintaining the secret of his own complicated sorrow. Beautifully written, with a wry intelligence and a lively comic touch, The Age of Grief captures moments of great intimacy with grace, clarity, and indelible emotional power.
astonishment. Then, for four dives, Nancy did not take her eyes off Kevin. He did a backward double somersault, tucked; a forward one-and-a-half layout; a forward one-and-a-half in pike position; and a double somersault with a half-gainer, which was astonishingly graceful. “I knew he dove in high school,” she said, “but I’ve never seen this.” A plump adolescent girl did a swan dive and Kevin stepped onto the board again. Other people looked up, including two of the lifeguards. Perhaps he was
the visit had failed that morning, or why it was succeeding right then, she sensed their time filling up with possibilities of things they could do together. She heard Nancy say, “I think the coals must be ready by now,” and the slam of the door. She pulled a cotton sweater over her head and went into the kitchen thinking fondly of the Humboldts driving away the next morning with smiles on their faces and reconciliation in their hearts. She hadn’t done anything, really, but something had done the
that I am still alive, by the presence of my face on every post office wall in the country, but maybe they don’t. Those displays have a way of going out of currency. Or if I died, or were captured, maybe it would get on the local news in New York. Others have. But they all stuck to the east coast or the west coast, went underground, tried again. I’m the only one who just left, who got to the dead center of the continent. Here’s something: when Kansas State sent for the transcript of my first two
Philip (for she often says now, “Philip must have my comb,” or “Philip was in the market this afternoon”), but she never does, even during the intimate moments of sharing dinner preparations or cleaning the previous tenant’s leavings out of the closets and cupboards. Florence reminds herself that Frannie has a basic reserve, especially about Philip, and that if anyone is to know, it will certainly be herself. Meanwhile, Frannie’s conversation is more earnest than ever. She talks about everything
was blond, sort of pretty and nice enough, I thought, but her children were horrible, the oldest sullen and suspicious—clank, clank-clank went her knife and fork on the plate—the next one an oblivious blonde, masticating her food with annoying languor, and the third irritable and squawking. At last, inevitably, Leah smacked her bowl and it landed upside down on the floor. As Slater, I waited for their mother to do something about it. As my wife, Dana looked at me expectantly. Leah looked at me