AROUND THE HOUSE AND IN THE GARDEN: A Memoir of Heartbreak, Healing, and Home Improvement

Dominique Browning, Author . Scribner $24 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7432-2595-3

When Browning and her husband of 15 years divorced, she kept the house and garden they had shared in Westchester, but for a long time she was too depressed to care about where she lived. Gradually, she begins to see that working on the house she had neglected and transforming it into a home again is a way to recover from her despondency. In these short, elegant essays, Browning, a former editor-in-chief of House & Garden, muses on the aspects of domestic life that revived her and shows how she healed her heart and her home at the same time. That symbol of doomed love, the master bedroom, for example, she had abandoned. She fills the bathroom with comfortable furniture and flowers and learns to enjoy lounging in the tub while looking out the window at the moon. A garden bench, a fireplace, chairs grouped together for companionship, the long-neglected garden, impractical objects like a grand piano or ornate candlesticks, the kitchen, a place for companionship as well as "a nice place to be lonely"—all these she comes to revere. Soon even the moss-covered bricks in her crumbling driveway delight her, as do ordinary rituals like weeding the garden, planting a tree and cleaning her closets so she can enjoy the memories they contain. Browning has written a warm and graceful paean to the commonplace, imbuing everything she contemplates with magic. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Open Ebook - 207 pages - 978-0-7432-2986-9
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-7432-2693-6
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