A wise andentertaining novel abouta woman whohaslived life on her ownterms for seventy-fivedefiant and determined years, only to find herselfsuddenlythrust to the center of her family s various catastrophes Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous and passionate, feminist icon to young women, invisible to almost everyone else.Read more...
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A wise andentertaining novel abouta woman whohaslived life on her ownterms for seventy-fivedefiant and determined years, only to find herselfsuddenlythrust to the center of her family s various catastrophes Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous and passionate, feminist icon to young women, invisible to almost everyone else. At seventy-five, Florence has earned her right to set down the burdens of family and work and shape her legacy at long last. But just as she is beginning to write her long-deferred memoir, her son Daniel returns to New York from Seattle with his wife and daughter, and they embroil Florence in their dramas, clouding the clarity of her days and threatening her well-defended solitude. And then there is her left foot, which is starting to drag .
With searing wit, sophisticated intelligence, and a tender respect for humanity in all its flaws, Brian Morton introduces a constellation of unforgettable characters. Chief among them, Florence, who can humble the fools surrounding her with one barbed line, but who eventually finds there are realities even she cannot outwit."
- ISBN-13: 9780544309869
- ISBN-10: 0544309863
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publish Date: September 2014
- Page Count: 306
- Dimensions: 1.25 x 6.5 x 9.25 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-06-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Morton (Starting Out in the Evening) offers up a fascinating family presided over by the irascible Florence Gordon, a 75-year-old New York City intellectual and feminist activist who likes to surprise, argue, and criticize. Florence never sought public adoration during her long career committed to women’s empowerment, but, now that she has been touted as “an American classic” by her young new editor, she finds she likes the attention. Her pending memoir will be her crowning literary achievement, but her family’s temporary relocation to New York from Seattle interferes with her process: she considers it an unwelcome intrusion into her well-established routine. Florence’s son, Daniel, is a Seattle policeman, an apparently disappointing career choice for the son of a famous feminist, and she cannot understand why she feels so little affection for him. She thinks his wife, Janine, is a vacuous suck-up and also has a difficult time connecting with her inquisitive teenage granddaughter, Emily, although the two eventually develop a tentative rapport. Florence never sees the disaster looming in her son’s marriage after an unexpected, life-altering medical diagnosis causes her to make two fateful decisions about her own future. As a strong-willed, independent woman, Florence is comfortable with herself and the manner in which she deals with others—“one of the fine things in life is the difference between what goes on inside you and what you show to the world.” Morton’s characters are sharply drawn, vivid in temperament and behavior, and his prose smartly reveals Florence’s strength and dignity. (Sept.)