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By Cynthia Zarin

This beautiful prose debut from prize-winning poet Cynthia Zarin is a poignant exploration of the author’s reports with love, paintings, and the shock of time’s passage.

Zarin charts the moving and complex parameters of latest lifestyles and relatives in writing that feels approximately fictional in its richness of scene, discussion, and temper. the author herself is the marvelously rueful personality on the heart of those stories, at the beginning a bewildered younger lady navigating the terrain of recent jobs and borrowed residences in a long-vanished big apple urban. via the tip, even if describing a newlywed trip to Italy, a child’s life-threatening disorder, Mary McCarthy’s dossier cupboard, or the interior lifetime of the New Yorker employees, this heritage of the guts indicates us how continual the previous is in returning to us with solely new lessons.

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He liked a particular kind of sketchbook with a hard, marbleized black cover, and as he drew he smoked the small cheroots his grandfather, who came from a town fifteen kilometers from here but which he refused to visit, had smoked. The were called sports. Sometimes he drew me, but I was an annoying model: I was restless, and my face set into an expression he found irritating. When we had first met he had drawn me endlessly; we lived then for a time on a pond filled with leeches and turtles, and we would take a green rowboat into the middle of that pond and he would draw and I would read.

The kitchen was full of hot white light. Ivetta had drawn the curtains, but they were white, sheer curtains smocked in a honeycomb pattern. Diamonds of light danced on the white walls, and the floor, which was also white pickled wood. I was uninterested in food. When I get off an airplane I usually feel for many hours as if my body were continuing to hurtle through space—a body that should be fed on nitrogen gas, or gasoline. My husband was famished. He made a huge sandwich with the bread, the cheese, and the ham—so it was just as well that I was not very hungry.

When we did, we moved into a house that for years our gaze had fallen on unknowingly, standing below us in the view, a few blocks north of the church. It had been derelict before we bought it, and we lived like vagabonds in its rebuilt rooms and staircases. The puckered surfaces of my grandmother’s piano settled next to the stairs. When that night Joan came in her violet coat we sat on the low sofa, whose embroidery had been picked out now entirely by cats and bored children, and she told me what she knew, that her troubles had come from the apartment—she was now going to take down its walls and the long hall, because according to Chinese principles, when you opened the door of the apartment, love flew down the hall and out the window, into the view of the tree and tall green church steeple.

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