cover image Home Life: A Journey Through Rooms and Recollections

Home Life: A Journey Through Rooms and Recollections

Suzanne Fox. Simon & Schuster, $17.5 (176pp) ISBN 978-0-684-83517-4

Fox is a freelance writer with an M.F.A. in art history whose essays, none of which have been published previously, gather amazing power in the course of these pages. Her sense of self is centered in her surroundings, constructed from an accumulation of precise details, first in her room as a child with a corkboard covered with ""a series of quotations from what might be called the Meaningfully Vague school of literature from Kahlil Gibran to Carole King."" Around her were her mother's junk-filled drawer and sand washing down the drain in her grandmother's house on the New Jersey shore, where ""objects seemed domesticated by her care, like tigers tamed into house pets."" Fox's sense of place underwent a transformation when she moved to a small Manhattan apartment, where she learned about being grown-up: ""It didn't occur to me that living alone was, like gourmet cooking, a process that required not only good ingredients but also patience, creativity, and skill."" These essays are small pleasures, but their delicate aroma lingers. Illustrations. (Sept.)