A Stone Bridge North: Reflections In a New Life

Overview

A middle-aged woman with a teenage son rediscovers her Quaker faith, and quits her urban life for a homestead in the woods of Vermont.

"I lived a straight-edged life, a cubist arrangement of familiar rectangles: office, computer screen, paycheck, city blocks, mortgage, calendar pages, television screen. These were more confining than I knew. Most confining of all, for most of those years, was the four-square house I occupied like a resentful ghost through half my marriage…I am ...

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Overview

A middle-aged woman with a teenage son rediscovers her Quaker faith, and quits her urban life for a homestead in the woods of Vermont.

"I lived a straight-edged life, a cubist arrangement of familiar rectangles: office, computer screen, paycheck, city blocks, mortgage, calendar pages, television screen. These were more confining than I knew. Most confining of all, for most of those years, was the four-square house I occupied like a resentful ghost through half my marriage…I am no longer a ghost in my life."

—from the Prologue

A Stone Bridge North is the author's own story of "miracles found and fears allayed" in the journey out of a confining urban existence and into a simpler, more joyous life. To tell this story fully, she must look through changed eyes at her past-at childhood anxieties, family disaffections, failed marriages, late motherhood, restless boredom, and, paradoxically, a native talent for joy. She learns that she has been guided by faith even when she thought she had none. She begins to discern purpose and design both in her stories and in the light by which she sees them-a light refracted through a Quaker lens that searches for the sacred in all people. As the four seasons turn, she celebrates the loves of her new life-family, friends, language, silence, and the extraordinary landscape of Vermont.

Author Biography: Kate Maloy was born in New Jersey and began relocating almost immediately, moving at least a dozen times in childhood and even more as an adult. She now lives in Worcester, Vermont.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her mid-50s, writer Maloy moved from Pittsburgh to northern Vermont, leaving behind her "right-angled, urban existence" (a couple of failed marriages and an uninspiring career as a freelance writer). With her son and her new lover, she set out to build a new home and a new life. The "radical simplicity" of rural Vermont, the taciturnity of her mate and closeness with nature's rhythms all helped Maloy focus. A practicing Quaker even before her move, her "Inner Light" became the compass for her journey for meaning. Through the lens of her deeply felt Quaker faith, she examines past loves, failed friendships, child-rearing problems, the delights of her new soul mate and even global issues like democracy and war. And just as Indiana Jones, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, stepped out over an abyss and was saved by a rock-solid optical illusion of a stone bridge, Maloy trusts her own stone bridge faith which "equalizes, connects, provides access." As she concludes, "The more we love, the less we fear," and the "less we fear, the more perfect our freedom becomes, and the more we can extend that freedom to others." Readers unfamiliar with Quaker philosophy and history will find ample explanation here, although the rhetoric can sound preachy at times. Still, Maloy is courageous in her willingness to accept failure and imperfection as part of the process. Her insistence on leading an examined life is powerful, especially in the morally difficult times we now face. (Feb. 1) Forecast: Maloy may not attract a wide readership, but hand-selling to book buyers with a spiritual quest will be effective. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
In her mid-50s, writer Maloy moved from Pittsburgh to northern Vermont, leaving behind her "right-angled, urban existence" (a couple of failed marriages and an uninspiring career as a freelance writer). With her son and her new lover, she set out to build a new home and a new life. The "radical simplicity" of rural Vermont, the taciturnity of her mate and closeness with nature's rhythms all helped Maloy focus. A practicing Quaker even before her move, her "Inner Light" became the compass for her journey for meaning. Through the lens of her deeply felt Quaker faith, she examines past loves, failed friendships, child-rearing problems, the delights of her new soul mate and even global issues like democracy and war. And just as Indiana Jones, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, stepped out over an abyss and was saved by a rock-solid optical illusion of a stone bridge, Maloy trusts her own stone bridge faith which "equalizes, connects, provides access." As she concludes, "The more we love, the less we fear," and the "less we fear, the more perfect our freedom becomes, and the more we can extend that freedom to others." Readers unfamiliar with Quaker philosophy and history will find ample explanation here, although the rhetoric can sound preachy at times. Still, Maloy is courageous in her willingness to accept failure and imperfection as part of the process. Her insistence on leading an examined life is powerful, especially in the morally difficult times we now face. (Feb. 1) Forecast: Maloy may not attract a wide readership, but hand-selling to book buyers with a spiritual quest will be effective. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Through the lenses of the seasons and reawakened Quaker faith, a midlife escapee from a "straight-edged" to a more fulfilling lifestyle in the Vermont woods reflects upon her journey of "miracles found and fears allayed"<-->including an Internet connection to a new love. Maloy is the author of ." Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A middle-aged woman who moved to Vermont to begin a new life pens an earnest, well-crafted celebration of the discovery of love, self-knowledge, and meaning. Maloy's well-intentioned account of a life transformed by love and faith is often an enervating exercise in conventional self-regard; the disappointments of her life are not so different from those of millions of men and women. This is not a dramatic tale of raging passions and horrible hurts but rather a familiar record, conventionally perceived, of the steady drip of the usual blows that leach hope from hearts. Maloy did not get on well with her religion-obsessed mother, and her father remained a distant figure. She married young, divorced, then married another unsuitable man and grew to hate her writing job. By the time she reached her 50s in Pittsburgh, her only joy was her young son Adam, her only hope the God her Quaker said her resided in each individual as a transforming light. But her life changed miraculously one Sunday in 1996 when, after attending a Quaker Meeting, she saw a house and realized she wanted to live there with Adam. Now her life suddenly had purpose. Confident of God's presence in her life and the fitness of her past as prelude to this moment, she divorced her husband, bought the house, and then met Alan on the Internet. An e-mail courtship led to marriage and life in Vermont, a place Maloy had always considered her true home. Now at peace and braced by faith, she looks back from the perspective of the year beginning in the summer of 1998-as she, Alan, and Adam move into the house-on her past, her adjustments to her marriage, her Quaker faith and pacifist beliefs, and the unfolding seasons. One of thoseinterior travelogues that, like home movies, are not terribly compelling for outsiders.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582431451
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2002
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.09 (d)

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