Thursday, April 01, 2010
Joy thought her teaching job at Columbia University was a dream come true, but reality never measured up to her imaginings. After years of struggle with the city and campus politics, she got a spectacular offer at Amherst. Different hardly describes her life there: she buys an old house in need of renovation; she is drawn into friendships with women colleagues; a string of men pursue her. New York reticence and remoteness lose out to the ready warmth that is offered in New England, and she slowly responds. Then there is Teddy, the younger man and genius house restorer who becomes both lover and cause. Joy grows and sees herself in an entirely new way. She becomes part of a community, intellectually and emotionally, as she never has before. If there can be such a thing as a coming-of-age novel about a woman in her late forties, Meier has created it. The strong characters, believable situations, fine writing, and great storytelling make for a remarkably compelling book.