The Rest of Life: 2three Novellas

Mary Gordon, Author Viking Books $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-83828-8
Gordon ( Good Boys and Bad Girls ) here collects three novellas of characteristically understated power about the strange ways of love--and death--among women and men. The title novella concerns love remembered, as Paola, an elderly woman traveling through Italy, recollects her youthful romance with Leo, who died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds after she reneged on their teenaged suicide pact: ``They would make love. Then they would shoot themselves.'' In ``Living at Home,'' another female narrator tells of her ongoing relationship with Lauro, an Italian journalist living with her in London who ``isn't afraid of death'' and who lives on the adrenaline of risk as he covers revolution around the world. The best of the three fictions may be ``Immaculate Man,'' about the unlikely love between a divorced mother and a virginal middle-aged priest, Clement, who is also desired, diplomatically, by Boniface, the priest who was Clement's superior for more than 20 years in an upstate New York monastery. Narrating in the first person, the mother performs an obsessive act of devotion to love, the lover, and love's inevitable end as Gordon dwells on problems of the flesh and of the spirit with a tranquil, painful sense of doom. Mortal reverie is her forte, and love and death are her transfiguring double muses. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-14-014907-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0317-3
Hardcover - 346 pages - 978-0-8161-5907-9
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