Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm in love

Don't tell my husband.
I think I am in love with Stewart O'Nan.
The latest reason - "Snow Angels."
From these words ... "I was in the band the fall my father left, in the second row of trombones, in the middle because I was a freshman." ... Until the novel's end, I was unable to put it down.
O'Nan is a master at crafting compelling characters, steeped in what I think of as Midwestern values. These are the folks who live in quiet desperation as they say. The people who haven't exactly been dealt the best of hands. The ones who struggle it seems just to survive.
The people who fascinate.
In Angels it's Arthur and Annie. He's the trombone player king with his parents split; she's his former babysitter now separated from her husband. Their paths cross in ways that will bring tears to your eyes.
O'Nan has a knack for drawing characters that I like even as I blame them to a certain extent for the problems in their lives. And that's no easy task!
Consider this from Annie's meeting with her lover,
"The firsth thing that hits her is how empty it looks, how dead. There are no lawn chairs, no Pepsi machines, just glass on the walk, weeds in the cracks. The gutters are rusting. The curtains are drawn across every window but the office."
Even as I want to hate her for what she's doing, I am overwhelmed by how sad and pathetic her life has become.
I'm not sure if I've read all his works yet, but you can bet I'll be checking.
-Tricia Ambrose



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