Post-40 Bloomers

August 6, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Mary Costello’s Immaculate Sadness 3


There is much sadness, of the starkly honest and lonely variety, in Costello’s stories. She gets it so right – achingly right – how love and loss are indistinguishable.

June 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Anna Keesey’s Little Century 3


Little Century is a book I’d recommend to anyone who embraces the dark and bright sides of life with equal gusto.

May 30, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Mary Wesley, That Sort of Girl 3


There was no stopping her now. She wrote like a woman possessed, scrawling on the back of old manuscripts and whatever she could find. She had a soft touch for dark themes, offering deception and adultery the same respect as the rest of the natural world they occupied. The only sin she couldn’t forgive her characters was cruelty.

May 2, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Spencer Reece, The Poet’s Tale 5


We needed such a story. The romance, the sense of “close call.” We need these stories to counter the inevitability of obscurity; we need stories that kindle our sense of hope, and possibility. In truth, I wouldn’t blame fans or journalists for altering or exaggerating the story. I understand why we need it to be as dramatic as possible.

March 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomers: Harriet Doerr’s Impossible Perfection and Happiness 7


Would a person who was happy for forty-two years write a book?

February 29, 2012

Post-40 Bloomers: Walker Percy, The Original Moviegoer 15


“It is not like learning a skill or a game at which, with practice, one gradually improves. One works hard all right, but what comes, comes all of a sudden and as a breakthrough. One hits on something… It is almost as if the discouragement were necessary, that one has first to encounter despair before one is entitled to hope.”

January 30, 2012

Nine Stories, 16 Years in the Making: Post-40 Bloomer Daniel Orozco 6


Orientation is not about “alienation,” modern-day or otherwise, nor about the effects of a particular cultural transition or economic decline; it’s about loneliness. About the awful, persistent distance between you and me, between me and me, between each of us and the spiritual-whatever in the universe; all of which keeps us wondering what the hell this life is about, and how we will survive it. This seems an important distinction to me, and what has allowed Orozco’s work – some of it 16 years-old – to debut with full emotional resonance.

January 12, 2012

Post-40 Bloomer: Stephen Wetta’s If Jack’s in Love 1


It may have taken Stephen Wetta 56 years to learn to write like a twelve-year-old, but it was worth the wait.

December 30, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Last Leopard 6


One indisputable factor that deprived us of more opportunities to luxuriate in Lampedusa’s gifts was a diagnosis of lung cancer at the age of 60. The diagnosis came just a few months after he finished the novel, two publisher rejections already in hand, a third which would arrive weeks before he died in July of that year.

November 30, 2011

Post-40 Bloomers: Isak Dinesen, Her Own Heroine 8


In a 1957 New York Times interview, she was asked, “Do you then look on your own life as a ‘tale’?” “Yes, I suppose so,” she replied, “but in a sense only I can grasp. And, after all, the tale is not yet quite finished!”