Synopses & Reviews
A Kirkus Prize finalist
An Indie Next pick
“Exquisitely crafted . . . Witty, nuanced and ultimately moving.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"Florence Gordon may be the most magnificent fiction character you will meet this year." —Christian Science Monitor
Meet Florence Gordon: blunt and brilliant feminist icon to young women, invisible to everyone else. At seventy-five, Florence deserves to set down the burdens of family and work and shape her legacy at long last. But just as she begins writing her long-deferred memoir, her son Daniel returns to New York from Seattle with his wife and daughter, and they embroil Florence in their dramas, threatening her well-defended solitude. And then there’s her left foot, which is starting to drag . . . With searing wit, sophisticated intelligence, and a tender respect for humanity in all its flaws, Brian Morton introduces a constellation of unforgettable characters. Chief among them Florence, who can humble fools with just one barbed line, but who eventually finds there are realities even she cannot outwit.
PRAISE FOR STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
"Nothing less than a triumph."
-The New York Times Book Review
"Wonderful . . . this is what a novel is supposed to be."-Newsday
"Funny, precise and beautifully written...Morton's perceptions of the conflicts within the human heart are keen. I loved this book."
PRAISE FOR STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
"Wonderful . . . This is what a novel is supposed to be." --Newsday
"Morton's perceptions of the conflicts within the human heart are keen." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
PRAISE FOR BRIAN MORTON "For some readers, Brian Morton may still be an undiscovered treasure. He wont be for long." - Newsday
"The passion of Mortons characters ring true . . . because the romantic ones conflict with such things as professional ambition and jealously." -Chicago Tribune
"Always a pleasure to read for his well-drawn characters, quiet insight and dialogue that crackles with wit, Morton here raises his own bar in all three areas." -- Kirkus, starred review
"Morton’s characters are sharply drawn, vivid in temperament and behavior, and his prose smartly reveals Florence’s strength and dignity." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Morton’s intelligent, layered portrait of a feisty, independent older woman is an absolute joy to read, not only for its delightful wit but also for its dignified appraisal of aging and living life on one’s own terms." --Booklist, starred review
"Morton (Starting Out in the Evening) has created an obstreperous, rebellious character who is likable for being true to herself." --Library Journal
“Combining a rigorous intellect and a deep humanity, this is the story of a feminist hero, a family coming together and apart, and the ways we interpret the past and attempt to face the future. Most of all, Florence Gordon shows how passion — of one type or the other — shapes a heart." —Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
“Perceptive isn't a strong enough word to describe Brian Morton's insight into family dynamics; psychic is more like it. From the nuances of a long marriage to the inevitable, infinitely sad divisions and tender connections between grandparents and parents and children, Morton nails it all. And somehow he still manages to be funny, even as he breaks your heart.”—Emily Gould, author of Friendship
"Florence Gordon is a marvelous creation. Like many great characters in English literature, she is a sacred monster, fully realized and richly present in the pages of this thoroughly enjoyable book."—Vivian Gornick, author of Fierce Attachments and Approaching Eye Level
"A marvelously wise, compassionate, funny, rueful and altogether winning novel. Brian Morton knows inside-out this tribe of witty, thoughtful people who, for all their decent values and good intentions, can't seem to narrow the unbridgeable distance between men and women, young and old, pride and compromise, solitariness and community. Florence Gordon is his most generously ample, humane and vital book."—Phillip Lopate, author of To Show and To Tell and Against Joie de Vivre
"Florence Gordon is one of contemporary literature’s most wondrous characters: flawed and brilliant, funny and serious, totally unforgettable."—Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life
“Florence Gordon belongs on the very short list of wonderful novels about older women. Florence, the brilliant, cranky, solitude-craving feminist writer, is an indelible character, and her New York—the fading city of books and writers and melancholy oddballs —lives on in these immensely pleasurable pages.”—Katha Pollit, author of Learning to Drive: and Other Life Stories
This is the story of Nora and Isaac, once lovers, estranged for five years, and now back in one another's lives. Isaac, a photographer, is dealing with the reality, at 40, that he will probably never be a star artist and is settling down in his comfortable job for a suburban New Jersey newspaper, mentoring students whose future looks brighter than his own. Nora, 9 years younger, has always been his great love, and after a five year hiatus, she's back, still struggling as a writer, still taking care of her aging aunt Billie, still unsure whether or not she can commit to Isaac. The problem is, Nora can't help but write about the people in her life, and although she is kind and sensitive and thoughtful and funny, in her writing she is brutal, and seems unable not to seek out the weakness in her subjects, thereby mortally damaging her relationships. Can this love affair survive the slings and arrows of art?
Isaac and Nora haven't seen each other in five years, yet when Nora phones Isaac late one night, he knows who it is before she's spoken a word. Isaac, a photographer, is relinquishing his artistic career, while Nora, a writer, is seeking to rededicate herself to hers.
Fueled by their rediscovered love, Nora is soon on fire with the best work she's ever done, until she realizes that the story she's writing has turned into a fictionalized portrait of Isaac, exposing his frailties and compromises and sure to be viewed by him as a betrayal. How do we remain faithful to our calling if it estranges us from the people we love? How do we remain in love after we have seen the very worst of our loved ones? These are some of the questions explored in a novel that critics are calling "an absolute pleasure" (The Seattle Times).
Leonard Schiller, an Upper West Side writer of some repute and a relic of The New York Intellectual scene, is courted in the twilight of his life by Heather, a young, ambitious, graduate student from Brown who wants to writer her master's thesis on Schiller's novels. Meanwhile, Schiller's daughter, Ariel, an aerobics instructor,who Heather views as "another boring forty-year-old obsessed with her biological clock," is looking for love and a father for a much-longed-for child. In this finely tuned serious novel, the lives of these disparate people converge.
Leonard Schiller is a novelist in his seventies, a second-string but respectable talent who produced only a small handful of books. Heather Wolfe is an attractive graduate student in her twenties. She read Schiller’s novels when she was growing up and they changed her life. When the ambitious Heather decides to write her master’s thesis about Schiller’s work and sets out to meet him—convinced she can bring Schiller back into the literary world’s spotlight—the unexpected consequences of their meeting alter everything in Schiller’s ordered life. What follows is a quasi-romantic friendship and intellectual engagement that investigates the meaning of art, fame, and personal connection. "Nothing less than a triumph" (The New York Times Book Review
), Starting Out in the Evening
is Brian Morton’s most widely acclaimed novel to date.
Adam Weller is a moderately successful novelist, past his prime, but squiring around a much younger woman and still longing for greater fame and glory. His former wife, Eleanor, is unhappily playing the role of the overweight, discarded woman. Their daughter Maud has just begun a frankly sexual affair that unexpectedly becomes life-changing. Into each of these lives the past intrudes in a way that will test them to their core. With perfect pitch and a rare empathy, Brian Morton is equally adept at portraying the life of the mind and how it plays out in the world, brilliantly tracing the border between honor and violation. Here Morton tells his strongest story yet—a story about love, friendship, literary treachery, and what each of us owes to the past.
A wise and entertaining novel about a woman who has lived life on her own terms for seventy-five defiant and determined years, only to find herself suddenly thrust to the center of her family’s various catastrophes
About the Author
BRIAN MORTON is the author of four previous novels, including Starting Out in the Evening, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and was made into an acclaimed feature film, and A Window Across the River, which was a Book Club selection of the Today show. He teaches at New York University, the Bennington Writing Seminars, and Sarah Lawrence College, where he also directs the writing program. He lives in New York.
Table of Contents
"A funny, precise and beautifully written novel. I loved this book." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones