The Best Place to Be: A Novel in \t\t Stories

Lesley Dormen, Author . Simon & Schuster $22 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4165-3261-3
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Each of the eight related stories in Dormen's accomplished collection offers a snapshot from the scattershot life of Grace Hanford. "Fifty and holding," a child of divorce from Cleveland, Ohio, with decades of therapy and blind dates behind her, Grace has spent years "dissecting the romantic lives of single women in their twenties and thirties" for Marvelous Woman magazine in New York City. Married to money-manager Richard, Grace has all the trappings of middle-age (the kitchen renovation, the "looming face-lift") except children of her own (Richard has two from a previous marriage). The first—and best—story, "The Old Economy Husband," lays out Grace's life in Greenwich Village, where she's lived long enough to watch the UPS man go gray. While ghostwriting an etiquette book, she recognizes she has relinquished her earlier theories about love and chosen a man "who made me feel like my fiercest, most clear-hearted twelve-year-old self." Subsequent stories limn with less panache the transitional periods in Grace's life: attending Elmira College for Women circa 1964 ("The Secret of Drawing"), quarreling with her younger brother over their dead mother's effects ("Gladiators"), arranging a reunion with her estranged father ("Curvy"). Dormen's narrator takes plenty of knocks, making the happiness she finds all the sweeter. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 12/11/2006
Release date: 04/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-4165-3262-0
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4165-3958-2
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