As the Labor Day holiday signals the end of another summer, many of us are returning home from our various travels. When we leave our homes and explore new parts of the world, we also see ourselves in new ways against unfamiliar backdrops. And when we return home we are changed somehow; we notice things about our daily lives that never seemed extraordinary before. In her new collection of four novellas, Mary Gordon explores the idea of being far from home – specifically of “Europeans in America and Americans in Europe.” We are pleased to recommend “The Liar’s Wife” as our Book of the Month for October.
In the title novella, 72-year-old Jocelyn confronts her past mistakes when a visitor from what seems like another lifetime arrives on her suburban Connecticut doorstep.
In “Simone Weil in New York” we meet Genevieve – a military bride and former student of the famed French activist. The year is 1942 and as Genevieve struggles to raise her young son with a husband off at war, she encounters her former teacher in Manhattan.
In “Thomas Mann in Gary, Indiana” a 90-year-old doctor recalls the day in 1939 when we was chosen to introduce the German writer to an audience in Indiana.
And in the final story, “Fine Arts,” graduate student Theresa Riordan travels to Tuscany to research her thesis in medieval and Renaissance art, and to nurse a heart broken by her married academic advisor.
About the Author
Mary Gordon is the author of the novels Final Payments, The Company of Women, The Other Side, Spending, Pearl and The Love of My Youth, as well as several memoirs, novellas and collections of short stories. She has received a Lila Acheson Wallace Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2007. She serves as the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor in English and Writing at Barnard College.