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Eveningby Susan Minot
Synopses & Reviews
A new lens passed over everything she saw, the shadows moved on the wall like skeletons handing things to each other. Her body was flung back over a thousand beds in a thousand other rooms. She was undergoing a revolution, she felt split open. In her mattress there beat the feather of a wild bird.
Where were you all this time? she said. Where have you been?
I guess far away.
Yes you were. Too far away.
They sat in silence.
You know you frightened me a little, she said. At the beginning.
He smiled at that.
You looked as if you didn't need anyone, she said.
But those are the ones who need the most, he said. Don't you know that?
I do now, she said. Too late.
Never too late to know something, he said.
Maybe not, she said. But too late to do any good.
She lifted the yellow suitcase and banged it against her leg. She dragged it over the polished floor. The ceiling of Grand Central towered above her with arches and glass panes and squares of sunlight.
She was not late and did not have to hurry. The clerk in the window bowed his forehead like a priest in confession and pushed her ticket through. Across the great domed room she spotted a redcap with a cart and though she usually would have carried her bag to save money decided this was a special occasion. She was on her way to a wedding. She signaled to him.
The redcap flung her suitcase onto his cart. Whoever you're going to meet, he said, he's a lucky guy.
The heat in New York had been terrible and the air underground at the gate was heavy and close. When the train came out of the tunnel she saw thunderheads turning the sky yellow and grey. The rain started, ticking the window with scratches then pouring over it in streams. Crowds of cat-o'-nine-tails surged in a wave as the train blew past. By the time they reached Providence the rain had stopped and it was hot again with a hot wind blowing in the open doors. The engine shut off and they waited in the station. No new passengers got on. It was as if the world had paused on this late morning in July. She held her book loosely and watched out the window.
The station in Boston was shadowed in scaffolding dark as a cave with bands of light on the paneled benches and few travelers. The redcap who took her bag was young and did not say a word. He pushed a contraption with a bad wheel and had trouble steering through the door. She came out of the damp entranceway into the brightness of the turn-around beyond where she saw among the parked cars the dark green MG. The doors were open and she saw in front Buddy Wittenborn and in the driver's seat Ralph Eastman and a third person with his back to her. The person was standing with one foot up on the running board. When she got close Ralph caught sight of her and jumped out of the car and Buddy looked over with a lazy smile. Only when she was near did the back turn around and the long leg come off the running board and she saw the man's face. He was wearing squarish dark glasses so she couldn't see his eyes. She noticed his mouth was full though set in a particular firm way, the combination of which affected her curiously. She felt as if she'd been struck on the forehead with a brick.
"Her best work yet, assured, supple, exhilarating in its nerve and cool momentum" --Joan Didion
"A stunning novel...a powerful story that cuts back and forth in time to give us both the defining moment in a woman's life and an understanding of how that moment has reverberated through the remainder of her days...Her evocation of her heroine's passion for Harris Arden is so convincing, her depiction of the world she inhabits is so fiercely observed...The difference between Monkeys and Evening] attests to Susan Minot's growing ambition and
assurance as an artist" --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"An absorbing drama...Minot writes with quiet perceptiveness and grace, pulling the
reader into Ann's deathbed reverie" --Elle
"A brilliant lyric performance" --John Casey
"In spare and lovely language, Susan Minot has set forth a real life, in all its particularity and splendor and pain. This is the task of the novelist, and in Evening Minot has succeeded
admirably" --Roxana Robinson, New York Times Book Review
"It astounds in its craftsmanship and imprints itself indelibly on the heart...A haunting work of art that moves at the pace of a suspense thriller" --Sheila Bosworth, New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Evening is a beautifully realized work...more mature and confident than anything she has written...An exquisite novel" --Gail Caldwell, Boston Globe
"A wonderful, truthful, heartbreaking book. . .. Evening vindicates the wildest assertions any of us have made about Susan Minot's talent" --Tom McGuane
"Evening is a supremely sensual, sensitive and dramatic novel...So rich in color and motion, music and atmosphere" --Donna Seaman, Booklist
"I was swept up in it...It moved me and made me cry" --D. T. Max, New York Observer
From the Hardcover edition.
Now ailing and surrounded by her children, sixty-five-year-old Ann Grant Lord reminisces about a glorious summer weekend some forty years earlier during which she met and lost the love of her life. By the author of Folly. 100,000 first printing. Tour.
About the Author
Susan Minot was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea. She studied writing and painting at Brown University and received an MFA in writing from Columbia University. After publishing short stories in Grand Street and The New Yorker she was offered a contract for a novel by the legendary publisher Seymour Lawrence, who was to publish her next three books. His initial support for "a work of fiction" became Monkeys, nine stories which together make up a novel about the Vincent family, a New England family of seven children with a Catholic mother and Brahmin-background father. The stories cover twelve years in the life of the children, their mother's "monkeys," during which a tragic accident alters their lives. It was published in a dozen countries and won the Prix Femina Etranger in France in l987. The novel was followed by Lust & Other Stories, a collection about wayward artists and journalists living in New York City, particularly about the relations between men and women in their twenties and thirties having difficulty coming together and difficulty breaking apart.
Her third book, Folly, set in the twenties and thirties in Boston, is a novel about a woman from a stifling Brahmin background whose choice of a husband is the determining factor in her life, and about the two different men she falls in love with. The challenge Minot set for herself was to write about a place and society which had always disturbed her and to try to imagine how a woman who was not an idiot could stay in that world.
In l994 she was contacted by the director Bernardo Bertolucci with the idea of developing his idea for a screenplay about a young American girl visiting English expatriate artists living in Tuscany and having a "sentimental education." She had always been interested in cinema as a student and moviegoer. Stealing Beauty was a collaboration with the director. It was filmed in the summer of l995, north of Siena, where she was given the opportunity to continue polishing and learning on the set.
Evening is the story of a woman on her deathbed who amidst the delirium and images of her past full life relives a love affair she had forty years earlier, when at twenty-five she attended the wedding of her best friend on an island in Maine. As her children wait and tend to her, she remembers minutely the details of those three days when she met a man, a time which emerges from marriages and divorces and children as being the high point of her life. Evening has been optioned by Kennedy/Marshall at Disney, with Minot currently working on the adaptation for the screen.
Having spent too many years in one place, bent over paper writing, Minot, who has an apartment in New York City, finds herself traveling and away from home much of the time.
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