WHO: David Gates
WHAT: A HAND REACHED DOWN TO GUIDE ME,
stories and a novella
WHEN: Published by Knopf May 21, 2015
WHERE: The author lives in Missoula MT and Granville NY.
WHY: “A master prose stylist at the top of his form.
“Gates’ first book in 15 years finds the Guggenheim Fellow and former Newsweek writer in familiar territory. As in his previous novels and stories, the novella and 11 tales that comprise this collection depict writers, critics, musicians, actors, and poets reluctantly resorting to drugs, alcohol, and isolation to dull familial anguish and sexual frustration. Many of these characters are aging; most are good at their art but have failed at marriage, parenthood, or work. At the heart of most stories lies a house—a place where lovers hide away, the world-weary nurse their wounds, and the disaffected attempt to start new lives. In the book’s archetypal opener (the novella), a writer chronicles her second marriage, to a wry and successful architect 30 years her senior, and her subsequent lapse into complacency, pot smoking, and deep-seeded desires.
“Gates proves himself as eloquent, funny, and cynical as ever.”
—Jonathan Fullmer, BOOKLIST
From the beginning of the book: On the morning I was to be married for the second time, I found myself going to my knees in the shower and praying: that my ex-husband would find love again, that I would always love my new husband and that whatever pain I had caused in my life would be forgiven. Just one of those maudlin premenstrual moments; I suppose the wedding could have been better timed. I washed and conditioned my hair, toweled off, blow-dried the fog from the mirror and laid out makeup on the ridge of the sink. The pictures from that afternoon show a bride who might still have passed for thirty.
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