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    Station Eleven

    Emily St. John Mandel 9780385353304

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Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish

by

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Helen harbors the hope that the passing five years

Have made folks forget both the vomit and tears

And throwing of glassware and drunken oration,

That half-hour tirade of recrimination

Where, feeling misused, she had got pretty plastered,

And named His name publicly, called him a bastard.

The details are fuzzy, though others have told her

She insulted this one and cried on that shoulder,

Then lurched ’round the ballroom, all pitching and weaving

And ended the night in the ladies’ lounge, heaving.

 

 

How had it begun, before things all turned rotten?

She can pinpoint the day, she has never forgotten

How he came to her desk and leaned over her chair

To look at some papers, and then smelled her hair.

“Gardenias,” he’d said, his voice sultry and lazy

And hot on her ear, Helen felt she’d gone crazy.

“A fragrance so heady it borders on sickly,”

He’d purred at her neck and then just as quickly

Was back to all business, demanding she call

Some client, as if he’d said nothing at all.

 

She was certainly never an expert at men,

But an inkling was twinkling, especially when

The next day he all but confirmed Helen’s hunch.

When he leaned from his office and asked her to lunch.

Their talk was all awkward and formal to start

He said that he found her efficient and smart.

She thanked him, then stopped, she was quite at a loss.

She’d never before really talked to her boss.

They each had martinis, which helped turn things mellow,

He asked where she lived, and if she had a fellow.

He reached for her hand and asked, “Will you allow

An old man to wonder who’s kissing you now?”

 

 

It was close and convenient, his spare midtown rental.

And after, more drinks at a bar near Grand Central

To sit once again in uncomfortable silence

Like two guilty parties to some kind of violence.

They sipped among other oblivion seekers,

While June Christy sang from the bar’s tinny speakers.

He settled the bill and they got to their feet,

And emerged from the afternoon hush to the street.

 

 

They walked arm in arm in some crude imitation

Of other real couples en route to the station.

Such leisurely strolling, although it’s grown late

Against her best judgment it feels like a date.

His booze-cloud blown over, now happy, near beaming

He stops at a window of cutlery, gleaming,

He points out the wares, taking note of a set that

He likes best of all, then he says, “We should get that.”

She knows it’s a joke, all this idle house-playing

But briefly she hopes that he means what he’s saying.

Her presence, she thinks, is what’s rendered him gladder

But really it’s just that he aimed for, and had her.

The hideous reason behind his new glow is

What Helen—and many just like her—don’t know is

That men’s moods turn light and their spirits expand,

The moment they sense an escape is at hand.

He patted her cheek as he said, “I’m replenished,”

Then off through the crowd for the next train to Greenwich.

 

 

Helen pictured his house with its broad flagstone path.

The windows lit up, a child fresh from the bath,

And wondered if she might just smell on his skin,

The coppery scent of their afternoon sin.

 

At her desk the next Monday it was business as always.

There were no words exchanged, not a glance in the hallways.

With relief, Helen thought, Well that’s that. Nevermore.

’Til Friday (again) at his pied-à-terre door.

 

 

And Friday thereafter, and each after that

For close to two years, ’til their actions begat

What such actions are wont to when caution’s ignored.

The cure was a thing she could scarcely afford.

They talked in his office behind the closed door.

(She could tell from his face that he’d been there before.)

In the envelope left the next day on her desk,

Was two hundred cash and a downtown address.

 

 

She’d never had visions of roses or cupids,

 From the beginning she wasn’t that stupid.

What you don’t hope for can’t turn ’round to hurt you.

 Besides, she had long before given her virtue.

There hadn’t been untoward coaxing or urging

This wasn’t The Ogre Defiling The Virgin

He’s older than she, but they’d both played the game

Of never once speaking the other one’s name.

Their mutual distance a plan jointly hatched

To keep things unserious, flip, and detached.

It was—truth be told, when she coolly reflected—

Not all that much different from what she’d expected.

Expected, she thought, and it sounded absurd.

How long had it been since she’d uttered that word?

 

 

And yet there were moments—unbarred, undefended—

When Helen concocted, cooked up, and pretended

She had all the trappings that go with the life of

The thoroughly satisfied, marrified wife of

A man who might keep her, despite the new battle

That said wives were really no better than chattel,

The difference too scant between “bridal” and “bridle”

And girls who’d had everything, now suicidal,

Finally finding their voices to speak

Of their feminine fetters, this loathsome mystique;

This problem that theretofore hadn’t a name

And still, Helen couldn’t resist, just the same,

To wonder, how might such a cared-for existence

Feel after decades of hard-won subsistence.

A mistress of manor, so calm, so serene

To know that there nowhere was any vitrine

Whose silvery wares would be ever denied her.

Review:

"The late Rakoff's novel swoops through 20th-century America — depicting a turn-of-the-century slaughterhouse in Chicago, hobos traversing the nation during the Great Depression, the confusion following the Great War, the casual sexism of the 1950s, the ravaging of communities by the AIDs epidemic, the flaunting of wealth of the 1980s, and a whole lot more. Rakoff's book is written in rhyming couplets — this, and the knowledge of the authors' recent passing after a battle with cancer, give this audio edition an eerie, haunting quality. Rakoff's years in radio make him an adept performer, but those familiar with his work will be stunned when they hear this reading: it is clear he is very ill. Yet there's an incredible power to the narration, and this will resonate with listeners. A Doubleday hardcover. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

David Rakoff was the New York Times bestselling author of the books Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. A two-time recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, he was a regular contributor to This American Life. He died in August 2012 at the age of forty-seven, shortly after finishing this book.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385392907
Author:
Rakoff, David
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Graphic Novels-Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Six CD
Publication Date:
20130731
Binding:
COMPACT DISC
Language:
English
Dimensions:
5.4 x 4.6 x 0.1 in 0.24 lb

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Related Subjects

Audio Books » Fiction and Poetry » General
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish New Compact Disc
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details pages Random House Audio - English 9780385392907 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The late Rakoff's novel swoops through 20th-century America — depicting a turn-of-the-century slaughterhouse in Chicago, hobos traversing the nation during the Great Depression, the confusion following the Great War, the casual sexism of the 1950s, the ravaging of communities by the AIDs epidemic, the flaunting of wealth of the 1980s, and a whole lot more. Rakoff's book is written in rhyming couplets — this, and the knowledge of the authors' recent passing after a battle with cancer, give this audio edition an eerie, haunting quality. Rakoff's years in radio make him an adept performer, but those familiar with his work will be stunned when they hear this reading: it is clear he is very ill. Yet there's an incredible power to the narration, and this will resonate with listeners. A Doubleday hardcover. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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