Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It Will Come To Me by Emily Fox Gordon

I just finished reading It Will Come To Me by Emily Fox Gordon, which is an excellent novel, funny, insightful, sharply observed, and a pleasure to read, but such a poor choice of title.

The cover is, if possible, even worse than the title. The cover is a baby floating above some undistinguished red brick buildings. The cover image made sense once I had read the final chapter, but not before. The title is too easily forgotten, and should have been something else, something indicating wit and and academic satire.

Random House calls the novel "A sharply observed comic novel about a writer straining against the role of faculty wife." Hmmmm. Fine, as far as it goes. Every time a book is actually amusing there seems to be something disparaging about that fact, as if only dreary seriousness were to be accorded real respect.

However, I enjoyed the book, found it well-written and well-constructed, with searing conflict and dead-on descriptions. Here's Gordon on a gathering of local writers:
"To catalog the rivalries, grudges, betrayals, lapsed friendships, divorces, feuds, and physical assaults that had severed past connections between the people in the room would require the kind of mind that finds histories of the Balkans comprehensible." And then, amazingly enough, Gordon goes on to provide concrete and hilarious examples.

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