What Waiting Really Means

June Akers Seese, Author
June Akers Seese, Author Dalkey Archive Press $14.95 (88p) ISBN 978-0-916583-51-4
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
This slim, potent volume of 25 fragmentary chapters is short-story writer Seese's first novel. Narrator Mary recalls her past--a Detroit childhood, a mother working in an aircraft plant, a college degree in history, her wedding, a move to Atlanta. Now middle-aged, married 20 years and childless, Mary nervously muses on the baffling details of her life during days of watching clocks and pots and doing laundry. Then the murder trial of a black youth crystallizes her anxieties. Identifying with the killer, Mary suffers a breakdown and is hospitalized. Back home, she lies in bed and ponders racial stereotypes and their relation to the prisoner in his cell. Throughout, Mary is sustained by her marriage. She and her devoted husband share whiskeys and confidences; they fight, make love. His work in the building trade--the stability of his storm sashes and hardwood floors--saves him from the mental torments that afflict Mary. The title points up differences between his active life and her troubling introversion. Men who ``go forth every day'' can't know ``what waiting really means.'' (Mar.)
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