$27.00ISBN: 9780812989403Availability: On Our Shelves NowPublished: Random House - April 25th, 2017
Anything is possible, in the world of Elizabeth Strout. Forgiveness, a transcendent moment, betrayal, selfishness. Outright cruelty. Or all of the above. The fact is, no one’s life is simple. The complications may be invisible, internal: the push-pull of infidelity, the love and the burden of parenthood, the greater burden of shame. In these interlocking stories we get to know more about the (for some familiar) families, neighbors, teachers, lovers and would-be lovers who populate Strout’s fictional universe, listen in on their unspoken communication, not to mention the network of neighborhood communication that allows no secrets. A dairy farmer who has lost his barn, Lucy Barton’s badly damaged brother, Lucy herself, the Nicely girls, a bored thespian, a troubled, lonely Vietnam vet... the internal tangle of their lives, described in a plainspoken but cadenced rural prose reminiscent of Kent Haruf, makes each story a revelation. Taken together, their cleverly interwoven narratives combine into something completely unforgettable, steely in their reality, gleaming with wit, graced with compassion. Strout is the master of understatement. Who else could make the phrase “Oh my gosh” sound like both a curse and a gasp of wonder?