THE GOOD HUSBAND by Gail Godwin, 1995. A New York Times Notable Book. (Why doesn’t the word ‘notable” have an ‘e’ in it? It seems to logically be pronounced Not-able, Noteable is the truer spelling and pronunciation)
This is the story if Magda Danvers, a 58-year-old college professor dying of ovarian cancer. She is married to a man named Francis Lake, 12 years her junior, who doesn’t have a paying job. He’s a house husband to his busy wife, whom he takes care of gently and tenderly as she lays dying. I suppose he is “the good husband”. It does seem a solemn story, so I’ll have to let you know what I think of it later.
NOTE: This story is full of “pretentious words”, but I’m actually enjoying it anyway since I like the characters so much. The “GOOD HUSBAND” was in the habit of studying “MISERICORDS” while he travels with his wife when she giving her lectures. Although the local college is named Misericordia University, I never once wondered what the college’s name means, and I thank the author for telling me about it. Here is the definition for you all:
a room in a monastery set apart for those monks permitted relaxation of the monastic rule.
Also, subsellium. a small projection on the underside of a hinged seat of a church stall, which, when the seat is lifted, gives support to a person standing in the stall.
a medieval dagger, used for the mercy stroke to a wounded foe.
NOTE: So you see Francis Lake, the ‘good husband’ photographs and studies the undersides of seats in the choir stall of many ancient churches. I find the subject very interesting since I LOVE medieval books with all their calligraphy and artwork. I am a modern FRAKTUR folk artist after all!
NOTE: the word “subsellium” is NOT in my Firefox spell checker, I find that it needs much updating.
Gail Godwin teaches at universities herself or at least she did in the past, so she writes about the real thing.
Other books by Gail Godwin I wish to read:
THE ODD WOMAN,
A MOTHER AND TWO DAUGHTERS,
THE FINISHING SCHOOL,
A SOUTHERN FAMILY,
FATHER MELANCHOLY’S DAUGHTER.
NOTE: I choose not to read her short stories.