Titel: The Mourners' Bench: A Novel
Verlag: Harper Perennial
Zustand: Very Good
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Thirty-year-old Leandra leads a solitary existence on an island in North Carolina, earning a modest living by fixing broken dolls. But her quiet, isolated life takes an unexpected turn when her sister's husband, Wim, appears, a man she has not seen for ten years, since their urgent love affair ended in tragedy. Wim, now dying of cancer, feels the need to see Leandra one last time.
In alternating, distinctly American voices -- one the twang of a New England Yankee, the other a gentle Southern drawl -- these two characters tell a wistful, wonderfully evoked story, from their first meeting, when Leandra was summoned to Boston to care for her pregnant, depressed sister, to the growing passion that led them beyond common sense and caution. As the narrative alternates between past and present, Leandra and Wim lay claim to the love they've denied themselves and each other.
With a sure sense of language and the kind of detail that rings with truth, Susan Dodd creates characters who will resonate in the reader's mind long after their tale reaches its inevitable end. Soft-spoken, sensitive, and deeply moving, The Mourners' Bench is literary fiction at its best, a powerfully eloquent novel of love, loss, regret, and rediscovery.Review:
On the day Leandra and her brother-in-law Wim made love for the first time, Pammy, her sister and his wife, committed suicide. Ten years later, Wim, terminally ill from brain cancer, appears on Leandra's doorstep in North Carolina, hoping to die in her arms. In the hands of a lesser writer, The Mourner's Bench might have ended up both melodramatic and sentimental; under Susan Dodd's careful pen, however, this tale of love, betrayal, and guilt overcomes its handicaps to become something more than the sum of its parts. Narrated in alternating chapters by the Southern-born Leandra and her New England paramour Wim, the story of Wim and Pammy's unhappy marriage, Pammy's difficult pregnancy, and the growing unspoken attraction between her younger sister and her husband unfolds, taking the reader back and forth in time as past events continue to intrude into present-day concerns. Wim might be dying, but the resounding aftershocks of Pammy's suicide have taught him and Leandra that gone does not necessarily mean forgotten. Indeed, the splicing of past and present brings Pammy back to life in a way, though her character is filtered through the memories of her sister and husband. Though death occupies the thoughts and actions of all three of the main characters, in the end, The Mourner's Bench is more about the living than the dead. As Wim and Leandra use what little time they have left to lay the ghosts of the past, they realize at last that "love makes a jumble of it all," and that it's never too late to find forgiveness.
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