What do you say when you know you don’t have forever? Ruth has been Ann’s closest friend for years - her confidante, her solace, her comic relief, her tutor in life’s mysterious ways. So when Ruth becomes ill, Ann is there for her without question. After all, it is Ruth who encouraged Ann to become who she is, Ruth whose rebellious, eccentric spirit provided the perfect counterpoint to Ann’s conventional, safe outlook. And so the friends go on as they always have…gossiping, consoling, and sharing intimate secrets - but with the knowledge that each shared evening could be their last.
©2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.; 2011 Elizabeth Berg
Elizabeth Berg is one of those writers who explores just about all aspects of the human condition - and "condition" is the operative word, as in we are al here "conditionally" and must navigate our lives with attention and mindfulness.
Having said that, what happens is that you never quite know what you're getting when you sign on to a literary trip with Berg. I always think I know her, but am always jolted from my complacency.
After very recently finishing "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted" and being satiated with comic as well as tragic (or at least challenging) moments in life, any life, I have expanded my reading repertoire into the short story genre and was pleasantly surprised. Berg has a few substantial funny (if not downright slapstick) bones in her vision and deploys them well in this story collection.
But now, to my point - "Talk Before Sleep" could have been an inspiring exploration into the experience of the end of life; after all, loss is universal to us all, part of the admission price we pay to enter the planet and does not have to be a monochromatic plunge into sadness and despair. But instead I found the world portrayed in here in "Talk Before Sleep" to be narrow and sad.
But I will continue to seek out work by Elizabeth Berg, one of my favorite authors, and one of the few whose work I download without even having to listen to a sample.
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