Jane Smiley – At Paradise Gate

88. At Paradise Gate by Jane Smiley (1981)
Length: 224 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 17 October 2012
Finished: 19 October 2012
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 October 2012
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Jane Smiley as an author. I have also read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

While seventy-seven year old Ike Robison is dying in his bedroom upstairs, his wife Anna defends the citadel of their marriage from the ill-considered, albeit loving invasion, of their three middle-aged daughters and twenty-three year old granddaughter. Helen, Claire and Susanna claim they have come to help their mother, Anna, and to cheer their father towards recuperation. Although, it appears to their mother that her daughters have arrived only to raid her refrigerator and to gripe and snipe at each other about their recollections of old rivalries. 

Bright, fresh-faced Christine arrives and presents the family with a new set of problems – her impending pregnancy and forthcoming divorce. Anna, herself, is reflecting on her life. Her life has been difficult for Anna, her marriage to Ike harshly violent, uprooting and cold. Unburdened by sentiment, Anna acknowledges to herself that she is angry at her husband for abandoning her and that her daughters remain so dependent, even into their adulthood.

Despite the simmering anger and resentment which is directed at her husband, Anna has grown used to Ike and truly can’t imagine her life without him. She is confronted by her own frailties, and the imminence of Ike’s death has left her in a devastating conundrum about what she should do next. Anna ultimately achieves a quiet certainty about her right to what’s left of her world.

I thought this was a very good book. It was an easy read for me, and even though nothing earth-shattering happened in the plot, At Paradise Gate by Jane Smiley was still a very pleasant read. This book was filled with moments of quiet introspection, rather than huge cliffhanger plot twists. The writing was beautiful and I give this book an A+! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary fiction.

A+! – (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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2 thoughts on “Jane Smiley – At Paradise Gate

  1. Hello there, Carole, While I did enjoy At Paradise Gate by Jane Smiley quite a bit (she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, Carole); I think that October's Book of the Month for me is actually going to be Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. I don't know what it is, Carole, but I seem to have developed an unusual fascination with Abraham Lincoln's assassination – I chose Henry and Clara by Thomas Mallon as September's Book of the Month! 🙂

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