When Isabel Moore's father dies, she finds herself, at the age of 30, suddenly freed from eleven years of uninterrupted care for a helpless man. With all the patterns of her life suddenly rendered meaningless, she turns to childhood friends for support, gets a job, and becomes involved with two very different men. But just as her future begins to emerge, her past throws up a daunting challenge.
In these absorbing and exquisitely made novellas of relationships at home and abroad, both historical and contemporary, we meet the ferocious Simone Weil during her final days as a transplant to New York City; a vulnerable American grad student who escapes to Italy after her first, compromising love affair; the charming Irish liar of the title novella, who gets more out of life than most of us; and Thomas Mann, opening the heart of a high-school kid in America.
"not worth the listen"
Monica Szabo, a middle-aged, moderately successful painter, encounters B, a wealthy commodities broker who collects her work. B volunteers to be her muse, offering her everything that male artists have always had to produce great art: time, space, money, and sex. (He is even willing to pose for her.)Soon after she and B become lovers, Monica starts work on a controversial new series of paintings based on her perception that the deposed Christs of Renaissance art were not dead, but post orgasmic.
On Christmas night of 1998, Maria Meyers learns that her 20-year-old daughter, Pearl, has chained herself outside the American embassy in Dublin, where she intends to starve herself to death. Although Maria was once a student radical and still proudly lives by her beliefs, gentle, book-loving Pearl has never been interested in politics nor in the Catholicism her mother rejected years before. What, then, is driving her to martyr herself?
"Martyrdom and Motherhood"
Miranda and Adam are masterfully portrayed characters, intent upon understanding who they are in relation to who they were. A story about what first love means and how it is shattered, and the lessons old lovers may still have to share with each other many years later, The Love of My Youth is also a poignant look back at the hopes and dreams of a generation and what became of them.
"The Love of my youth"
In the introduction to this remarkable book, Mary Gordon is riding in a taxi as the driver listens to a religious broadcast, and she reflects that, though a lifelong Christian, she is at odds with many others who identify themselves as Christians. In an effort to understand whether or not she had "invented a Jesus to fulfill my own wishes," she determined to read the Gospels as literature and to study Jesus as a character.
For more than 500 years, the story of Joan of Arc has been an inspiration and a mystery. The least likely of heroines, a peasant girl with no education and no prospects, Joan turned herself into the legendary Maid of Orleans, knight, martyr, and saint. Following a voice she knew was God's, she led an army to victory in battle and crowned the king of France, only to be captured by her English enemies and burned at the stake as a heretic, all by the age of 19.
"Very moving book, a debunking of history"