THE MONK DOWNSTAIRS by Tim Farrington, (c) 2003. Here’s another unusual love story, I seem to gravitate to the unusual, have you noticed? Here’s a former 40 year old monk named Michael Christopher released from his vows trying to make it in the real word. He becomes a tenant of a woman named Rebecca, a thirty-eight year old woman with a six year old named Mary Martha. Michael had a hard time getting his “severance paycheck” cashed, and finally walks by Rebecca’s sign in the window advertising a small apartment for rent. She cashes his check and he settles in, not having brought much with him. I wonder what job he will get? Don’t you just love an unusual love story? I sure do!
THE HOUSE ON MERMAID POINT by Wendy Wax, (c) 2014. This is the story of three woman named Maddie, Avery and Nikki who are involved in a reality show restoring a historic Florida beach front mansion belonging to 61-year-old William Hightower, a Rock and Roll legend known as “William the Wild” Hightower back in the day. Will capitalized on the few drops of Native American blood running through his veins when it came to his music as he dressed up like a Seminole Indian. Now he’s an old timer getting out of drug rehab and no longer a media darling. Will’s son picks him up for the drive down to Florida. Will guards his privacy so a reality show about turning his mansion into a Bed and Breakfast doesn’t thrill him. Maddie, a newly single woman and Will have strained relationships with their children but manage to fall for each other as they work together in the reality show.
I wondered why this story sounded so familiar, and found I read one other book written by Wendy Wax, about the same three women fixing up another mansion in Florida. I read one other book about a movie being filmed in a small town, that this one reminded me of. IN any case this book sounds interesting and so I begin reading it today.
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.
AN AVAILABLE MAN by Hilma Wolitzer, 2012. Isn’t HILMA a strange name? It rhymes with Wilma and the author is a she after all….. This book was definitely written for the older crowd, the Baby Boomers like me. (Should that be capitalized?) This, unfortunately is a “Slow Reader”, the plot is trudging along slowly so far, but that may be due partly to my damnable short attention span today. Maybe it’s partly the subject matter, it’s about a recently widowed man age 62, his step daughter and daughter-in-law placed an ad in the personal section of The New York Review newspaper. Here is is:
“Science Guy. Erudite and kind, balding but handsome. Our widowed dad is the real thing for the right woman. Jersey/Metropolitan New York.”
(What the heck is erudite?, I’m not a scholar after all!) Here’s the definition: