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The Rest of Life

Posted on

The Rest of Life

Current Status:
In Season
Mary Gordon

We gave it an A

Mary Gordon’s three novellas drift like gauze on a summer afternoon, but readers should not be fooled: The gauze hides razors. In The Rest of Life, Gordon’s sensual prose follows an old woman to the site of a long-ago suicide pact made with a boyfriend. Through a reminiscent haze, we watch the woman, at 15, change her mind just before the boy shoots himself. The same lingering warmth illuminates a divorcée’s stoic conviction that she’ll be abandoned by her lover, a priest. Then we eavesdrop luxuriously on a psychiatrist musing on the terrified children she treats, and the terrifyingly active journalist she loves as he searches the world for wars. Gordon’s stories are jeweled with memories of lovers’ trysts on fold-out couches, dry fountains in Paris gardens, shampooing an aging mother’s hair. But these cameos are embedded with nuggets of painful insight. A