Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stewart O'Nan

My long blogging hiatus is over! I have been consumed with everyday activities (work, exercise, doctor's appointments, etc.) and, somewhat appropriately, I have been reading Stewart O'Nan's newest work: Emily, Alone.

O'Nan writes beautifully about the minutiae of everyday life. He manages to make the ordinary fascinating and all of life worth concentrated attention.

The titular character of Emily, Alone is an aging widow accompanied by her dog, Rufus, and her sister-in-law, Arlene. I think many readers might be tempted into immediate pity and concern for Emily, but she herself rarely descends into self-pity. Instead, Emily enjoys the small pleasures of life and contemplates the process of aging and memory. I found myself also taking pleasure in Emily's pleasures: a comfortable routine, a daring walk in the snow, learning to drive again.

While nothing much happens in Emily, Alone, Emily's joy in her small adventures is both heartwarming and satisfying.

If you haven't already read Stewart O'Nan, definitely do so. You won't be disappointed.

Other O'Nan favorites:

Wish You Were Here
(The precursor to Emily, Alone. These books can be read independently.)