Titel: The Last Lovely City: Stories
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included
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A superb new collection from the greatly admired storyteller whose work "recall[s] such past masters as Flannery O'Connor and Katherine Mansfield" (Jim Baker, Newsweek).
The Last Lovely City begins with nine stories whose settings range from San Francisco to a North Carolina college town to a run-down Mexican resort.
In "His Women," a college professor and his ex-wife play an extended game of let's-kiss-and-make-up, revealing the history of their flirtations and infidelities. In "The Islands," a young widow mourns the loss of her cat more profoundly than the recent death of her husband. And in the title story, a view of San Francisco from the beach brings an old doctor, known for his generosity, to the sudden realization that the glory, innocence, and passion the city once represented to him are now lost forever, as he faces up to the way he has accrued the money to support his good works.
The four stories in part two take on the shape of a novel. Lila Lewisohn, a divorced psychiatrist, finds her private life beginning to fuse with the lives of her patients, their husbands, and their lovers.
A brilliant collection that envelops us in the richness of the worlds that Alice Adams has so masterfully created.
The fictional territory staked out by Alice Adams in The Last Lovely City is populated by characters with names like Carter and Chase and Zoë and Slater. They often live in the Berkeley hills and have professions like concert pianist, architect, psychiatrist, cellist; even their pets are upper-crust, sporting monikers such as Molly Bloom and Parsley. And yet, for all their wealth and brilliance, Adams's characters are unhappy people. Infidelity, divorce, and a steady, low-grade depression run through these stories; relationships are complicated and often destructive. In "His Women," Carter must choose between his lover, Chase, and his estranged wife, Meredith, all the while haunted by memories of his first alcohol-fueled marriage to Isabel. The four related stories at the end of the collection chronicle the disintegration of two marriages in the wake of much heavy drinking, emotional instability, and, of course, the requisite affairs.
Not every tale ends in misery, however. "A Very Nice Dog" traces the beginning of a relationship, not the end. In "The Islands," a widow becomes involved with a man who is very different from her late husband. "I thought that Slater's very differences from Andrew should be a good sign. You're supposed to look for opposites, not reproductions, I read somewhere." The death of a beloved cat, however, makes her rethink her motives: "Whyever should I seek out the opposite of a person I truly loved?" Lost love is an overarching theme in The Last Lovely City, but this somber subject matter is leavened by Adams's ironical voice and her deceptively simple prose. --Alix Wilber
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