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The Whole World over: A Novelby Julia Glass
Synopses & Reviews
A Piece of Cake
The call came on the twenty-ninth of february: the one day in four years when, according to antiquated custom, women may openly choose their partners without shame. As Greenie checked her e-mail at work that morning, a small pink box popped up on the screen: Carpe diem, ladies Scotland, according to her cheery, avuncular service provider, passed a law in 1288 that if a man refused a woman's proposal on this day, he must pay a fine: anything from a kiss to money that would buy her a silk dress or a fancy pair of gloves.
If I weren't hitched already, thought Greenie, I would gladly take rejection in exchange for a lovely silk dress. Oh for the quiet, sumptuous ease of a silk dress; oh for the weather in which to wear it
Yet again it was sleeting. Greenie felt as if it had been sleeting for a week. The sidewalks of Bank Street, tricky enough in their skewed antiquity, were now glazed with ice, so that walking George to school had become a chore of matronly scolding and pleading: Walk, honey. Please walk. What did I say, did I say WALK? Like most four-year-old boys, George left his house like a pebble from a slingshot, careening off parked cars, brownstone gates, fences placed to protect young trees (apparently not just from urinating dogs), and pedestrians prickly from too little coffee or too much workaday dread.
Greenie was just shaking off the ill effects of what she called VD whiplash: VD as in Valentine's Day, an occasion that filled her with necessary inspiration as January waned, yet left her in its wake--if business was good--vowing she would never, ever again bake anything shaped like a heart or a cherub or put so much as a drop of carmine dye in a bowl of buttercream icing.
As if to confirm her fleeting disenchantment with all that stood for romantic love, she and Alan had had another of the fruitless, bitter face-offs Greenie could never seem to avoid--and which, in their small apartment, she feared would awaken and worry George. This one had kept her up till two in the morning. She hadn't bothered to go to bed, since Tuesday was one of the days on which she rose before dawn to bake brioche, scones, cinnamon rolls, and--Tuesdays only--a coffee cake rich with cardamom, orange zest, and grated gingerroot: a cunningly savory sweet that left her work kitchen smelling like a fine Indian restaurant, a brief invigorating change from the happily married scents of butter, vanilla, and sugar (the fragrance, to Greenie, of ordinary life).
Dead on her feet by ten in the morning, she had forgotten the telephone message she'd played back the evening before: Greenie dear, I believe you'll be getting a call from a VIP tomorrow; I won't say who and I won't say why, but I want it on the record that it was I who told him what a genius you are. Though I've just now realized that he may spirit you away Idiot me, what was I thinking So call me, you have to promise you'll call me the minute you hear from the guy. Bya Pure Walter: irritating, affectionate, magnanimous, coy. Vee Aye Pee, he intoned breathlessly, as if she were about to get a call from the Pope. More likely some upstate apple grower who'd tasted her pie and was trolling for recipes to include in one of
Julia Glass, author of the award-winning novel Three Junes, tells a vivid tale of longing and loss, revealing the subtle mechanisms behind our most important connections to others. InThe Whole World Over, she pays tribute once again to the extraordinary complexities of love.Greenie Duquette lavishes most of her passionate energy on her Greenwich Village bakery andher young son. Her husband, Alan, seems to have fallen into a midlife depression, while Walter, her closest professional ally, is nursing a broken heart. At Walter's restaurant, the visiting governor of NewMexico tastes Greenie's coconut cake and decides to woo her away to be his chef. For reasons both ambitious and desperate, she accepts-heading west without her husband. This impulsive decision, alongwith events beyond Greenie's control, will change the course of several lives around her.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Hired as the personal chef to the governor of New Mexico, headstrong Greenie Duquette leaves behind her Greenwich Village pastry business and her psychotherapist husband Alan to head west with her four-year-old son, prompting a period of adventure, upheaval, and reflection for herself and all those drawn into her orbit. By the award-winning author of Three Junes. 200,000 first printing.
About the Author
Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award for her novel Three Junes, was a 2004—2005 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and her short stories have been honored with three Nelson Algren Awards and the Tobias Wolff Award. Until recently a longtime New Yorker, she now lives with her family in Massachusetts.
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