Legacy: Laurie Colwin
The characters in Laurie Colwin’s novels and stories buck an enervating recent trend: They are engaging maximalists in a field of disaffected minimalists. In her four domestic novels, including Happy All the Time, Family Happiness, and Goodbye Without Leaving, and in dozens of short stories, Colwin’s attractive, funny, adventurous, urban women and men thrive with generous appetites and appealing idiosyncracies. Such inviting scenes of adulthood often make readers fall in love with Colwin’s universe; at the very least, they make us hungry for the comforts of good food and the surprises of love.
Colwin always held out hope that love was there to be found — as she herself found happiness with her husband, Juris Jurjevics, a book editor, and their daughter, Rosa, in their New York City home. Music, Colwin advised, could also help: In Goodbye Without Leaving (1990), the heroine is the only white backup singer in an R&B group. And well-made soup, she suggested, could heal hearts, too: Colwin’s engaging Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (1988) mixes stories with recipes involving butter and eggs in cheerfully maximalist proportions.
<p At the time of her death on Oct. 24 of a heart attack at the age of 48, Colwin had two books in the oven at HarperCollins: more fiction and a sequel to Home Cooking. To dine at Colwin’s table is a feast; what a splendid cook she was to have left us more meals.