Dixie Darr

Convergence

In Books, Lent - Season of Change on April 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

Lent – Season of Change, Day 29

I never read just one book at a time. Usually I read at least three and sometimes five or six, and I rarely have a problem keeping them straight. Sometimes, though a couple of the books have common themes, or characters with the same name, or similar plots that can cause confusion.

Right now, I’m reading three novels that are all set in New York City, and all three feature elderly women whose children alternately worry about them or feel exasperated by them. I’m listening to the audio version of Elizabeth Strout’s, My Name is Lucy Barton. Lucy is a young mother whose long-estranged mother comes to visit her in the hospital.

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron (my Kindle selection) tells of a young woman whose mother has been hospitalized and may not recover. Evie reluctantly accepts the responsibility of sorting through her mother’s belongings and finds some disturbing anomalies.

In Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney (hardback), the 85-year old Lillian sets out for a New Year’s Eve dinner at a local restaurant and ends up walking ten miles through Manhattan while reminiscing about her life and encountering a motley cast of characters the way.

As if this weren’t coincidence enough (unless you don’t believe in coincidence), at the library on Saturday, I also picked up Rebecca Solnit’s Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. Much more than a collection of maps, this book addresses various neighborhoods of New York with photos and historical context.

As I stroll around the city with Lillian or learn that taxi drivers refuse to drive Evie to Higg’s Point or gaze at the Chrysler Building outside Lucy’s hospital window, I can look up the area in the atlas. It makes for quite a rich reading experience.

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