The Widows Children. Paula Fox Paula Fox

ISBN: 9780007291410

Published:

Paperback

236 pages


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The Widows Children. Paula Fox  by  Paula Fox

The Widows Children. Paula Fox by Paula Fox
| Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 236 pages | ISBN: 9780007291410 | 6.46 Mb

First published in 1976, The Widows Children, with its unpalatable family wistfully gnashing at one another, has long defied critical description. Now that its been rereleased, with a fine new introduction by Andrea Barrett, its time again forMoreFirst published in 1976, The Widows Children, with its unpalatable family wistfully gnashing at one another, has long defied critical description. Now that its been rereleased, with a fine new introduction by Andrea Barrett, its time again for readers to approach this spare--yet unsparing--novel.

Approach with something like terror, or at least a tremulous respect, for Paula Foxs tale of one familys massive, various history awes with its marvelous compression. We learn these people inside and out in just one evening. Divided into seven chapters (Drinks, Corridor, Restaurant, The Messenger, Two Brothers, Clara, The Funeral), the book tells of the Maldonadas, Spanish-Cuban immigrants to America who now find themselves middle-aged and living in the past, galvanized only by sister Lauras emotional excesses.

These people, notes Peter, a friend, had not signed any social contract. Laura leads her husband, Desmond, her brother, Carlos, her daughter, Clara, and Peter a not-so-merry dance through one acrimonious dinner in a pretentious Manhattan restaurant. Practically the only ugly truth she doesnt manage to dredge up is the one she learned that very afternoon: Alma, Carlos and Lauras mother, has died in a nursing home. But the plot is not what we think about when we say this is a very, very good novel. Foxs marvelous control and formalism ultimately give The Widows Children its strange, singular power.

She has a poets ability not just to imply unsayable mysteries but to imbue the unsaid with treachery, wit, emotion, and irony, all hanging in a vaporous cloud. Each character in turns speaks a pained monologue- we dont like them--we dont, in a sense, even care--but we cant stop watching this elaborately choreographed car wreck.Along the way, Fox gets off a number of good ones, as in this description of a neighbor: a tall muscular man who entered into and departed from rooms quickly, athletically, as though following a secret program of body building.

Her wit leavens our impatience with these difficult people. And thats a clever swindle, for she then delivers a chilling tale with infinite grace. This is in no way an expected novel. --Claire Dederer



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