By Madeleine St. John
Madeleine St John's poignant normally witty new and novel tells the tale of 3 humans locked in an unsatisfied tangle of feelings and wishes, none in a position to articulate the ideal caliber in their longing and dissatisfaction. There's Alex, depressing in his chilly and frivolously expert marriage, not able to depart due to his childrens. subsequent comes Andrew, lately domestic from ten years in the USA, leaving an ex-wife and a liked daughter at the different part of the area. and at last there's Barbara, the captivating and lustrous item in their affections, officially self-possessed yet unusually aimless and unfulfilled.
With splendor and acuity, Madeleine St John chronicles their growth via various fake begins, reversals, and misapprehensions. the result's a deeper realizing of longing and its major spouse -- loss.
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Extra resources for A Stairway to Paradise: A Novel
She was one of the few stay-at-home moms in Ramsey Hill and was famously averse to speaking well of herself or ill of anybody else. She said she expected to be “beheaded” someday by one of the windows whose sash chains she’d replaced. Her children were “probably” dying of trichinosis from pork she’d undercooked. She wondered if her “addiction” to paint-stripper fumes might be related to her “never” reading books anymore. ” There were people with whom her style of self-deprecation didn’t sit well—who detected a kind of condescension in it, as if Patty, in exaggerating her own minor defects, were too obviously trying to spare the feelings of less accomplished homemakers.
She worked evenings busing tables at W. A. Frost, but all afternoon on weekdays she sat waiting on her front stoop while ice-cream trucks went by and younger children played, and on weekends she sat in a lawn chair behind the house, glancing occasionally at the loud, violent, haphazard tree-removal and construction work that her mother’s new boyfriend, Blake, had undertaken with his nonunionized buddies from the building trades, but mostly just waiting. ” Seth asked her from the alley. ” Connie considered briefly and then shook her head.
If you mentioned an election or a candidate to her, you could see her struggling and failing to be her usual cheerful self—see her becoming agitated and doing too much nodding, too much yeah-yeahing. Merrie, who was ten years older than Patty and looked every year of it, had formerly been active with the SDS in Madison and was now very active in the craze for Beaujolais nouveau. When Seth, at a dinner party, mentioned Patty for the third or fourth time, Merrie went nouveau red in the face and declared that there was no larger consciousness, no solidarity, no political substance, no fungible structure, no true communitarianism in Patty Berglund’s supposed neighborliness, it was all just regressive housewifely bullshit, and, frankly, in Merrie’s opinion, if you were to scratch below the nicey-nice surface you might be surprised to find something rather hard and selfish and competitive and Reaganite in Patty; it was obvious that the only things that mattered to her were her children and her house—not her neighbors, not the poor, not her country, not her parents, not even her own husband.
A Stairway to Paradise: A Novel by Madeleine St. John