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 ...Read MoreLeonard 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.Read Less
This would be a hard book to recommend to someone. A statement in the book by one of the charactesr in the book seems to sum up my recommendation.. He makes a statement referring to one of the main character's (an author) books, "He finished it in one sitting--it was pretty light--and getting up he tossed it on the table and thought, 'Four people bothering each other. Who cares?"
Having said that, I have to admit it did impact me in some ways. The author subtly portrays the transitions into the characters lives and how they deal with/accept them. Unfortunately it took the last few chapters to really hammer this message home. Sadly, I can see many abandoning the book before getting to this point.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-09-29 Morton, a magazine editor whose only previous novel was The Dylanist, is a deceptively simple writer. The beginning of his new book is so apparently artless it gives no hint of the subtle, tender and moving story to come. Leonard Schiller is an elderly novelist, one of the few surviving members of the Upper West Side Jewish intellegentsia of the 1940s and '50s. He has written two books that achieved some good critical attention, two more that disappeared virtually without a trace, but he still labors onæobese, slow and subject to heart murmurs, but trying doggedly to complete a last work before his life gives out. It is a life that has been devoted so singlemindedly to his work, as a sort of cultural duty, that he is unprepared for a dizzy rush of emotion when graduate student Heather Wolfe erupts vividly into his restricted orbit. A worshipful acolyte, she wants to write her thesis on him, perhaps restore him to a place in the literary pantheon. Leonard's daughter Ariel, sweet-naturedly muddling her way through life, a perpetual loser in love, has her own agenda: a baby before it is too lateæbut with whom? The three interrelate, eventually with Ariel's old flame Casey, too, in many surprising and often touching ways. Their stories are illuminated always with the gentle grace of Morton's writingæfor as the narrative builds, it turns out to be far from artless. Only a rather too easy feel-good ending, which leaves an important question unresolved, slightly mars what is otherwise an elegiac tale at once strong-minded and profoundly compassionate. (Jan.)
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