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Topic: Lovely lit - The Rest of Life, three novellas by Mary Gordon

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Subject: Lovely lit - The Rest of Life, three novellas by Mary Gordon
Date Posted: 2/6/2013 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2013
Posts: 17
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The Rest of Life is a book of three novellas by Mary Gordon... she is a wonderful writer, if you are not familiar with her I recommend checking out this book and others she's written (my favorite is Spending). 

You can find this book on my bookshelf, and I'd love to pass it on to someone soon. Please order from me if you are interested.

Here is what Amazon says about it:

Now in a trade paperback edition, these beautifully written, deceptively simple novellas introduce three women, each of whom tells the story of the lover who has most altered her life. In stunning prose, Mary Gordon examines the conflicting desires of the mind and the flesh--and measures the power of the place in which love resides.

And here is the begining of the first novella, just to get you hooked ;-)


What happened to me on the bus wasn't unusual. The person sitting next to me was surprised and even outraged and that made me wonder for a moment at my own lack of outrage and surprise. It's very easy for me to think that other people are right, more right than I am anyway, or at least they have more right to things, which is why I always give up arguments. I'm easily swayed and along with that I don't expect too much. Why would I go on with something—anything, a conversation, a debate—when it seemed clear that the other person wanted so much to be winning? When it meant so much to them?
When I was a teenager, I liked reading Russian novels. I wanted to study Russian, but the sixties came and I decided I should help the poor. I became a social worker. I think I was right.
I must have read thousands of pages of Russian novels, but of all those words, only one sentence still stands out. It's spoken by a married woman who goes to a priest every week to confess adultery. Every week she cries and cries. She seems distraught; her whole body is racked with sobs. The priest asks her why she goes on doing it, sinning this way, since she is so contrite. Suddenly she stops crying. She sits up straight. She dries her eyes. I could always see this very clearly: how suddenly she got hold of herself. It must have seemed to her all at once that the priest had never understood a thing. It must have been a bad moment for her: suddenly to feel she hadn't been understood. But at the same time, contemptuous. At that moment, she must have felt that she could have turned over the whole institution of the Russian church with one flick of her foot. That's how insubstantial it must all have seemed to her.
She looked up at the priest with clear, dry eyes. "I do it because it gives him so much pleasure and me so little pain." Then she left. The priest said nothing. I'm sure that she went right off to her lover.
I don't know why I began talking about all that. I want to talk about what happened on the bus...

Last Edited on: 2/6/13 12:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1