EVENING by Susan Minot

Reviewed by Suzanne Bartash, Booklovers

Evening(January 9, 2004) Susan Minot writes a compelling story. Ann Lord is a woman at the end of her life. She is bedridden with cancer and through her pain and drug induced sleep we are allowed into her mind and her memories. Ann has had a full life with three husbands and five children. Throughout it all she feels that a piece of her is missing. Her heart was given to Harris Arden,a man she met at a friend's wedding many years before. For Ann, he was her soul mate. She was devastated and broken hearted when the truth of his situation was revealed to her. She carries on with her life but is never the same. She is emotionally crippled for life. This is obvious in her other memories when she really doesn't come across as a truly loving mother or wife.

The stream of consciousness manner in which Ann's story is told is confusing at times but well worth the effort. The writing is beautiful and evokes much emotion in the reader. Some of us found it almost heart wrenching to even read and truly felt for this character. She writes elegantly in a unique and enjoyable style that draws one into the story. So many things in the novel are left to one's imagination, due to the unreliable narrator who is on pain medication. The narrator's retrospective of her own life is haunting and dazzling. It is definitely a powerful book and makes one cling to and examine life. Many people (including some members of our group) live with the memory of the "one that got away" but for Ann, it was all consuming. In the end, we can only hope that she has found the peace that has evaded her all of her life.

Most members enjoyed the book very much although some found it difficult to read since the main character was dying of cancer. We also found it hard to accept her relationship with her children. The members of our book group are very family oriented and her lack of involvement with her children was disturbing. There was much discussion about the character of her great love, Harris Arden. Was he the wonderful man she thought he was or was he a cad?

Evening was a great book for a book group discussion.

FROM THE EDITORS: We'd love to hear from other Larchmont readers. Take the Book poll and add your comments.


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