Life Estatesby Shelby Hearon
In Her Most Searching and most accomplished novel to date, the author of Owning Jolene and Hug Dancing explores friendship and loss -- and what binds two women together and what separates them. Sarah and Harriet, now in their mid-fifties, have been friends since boarding school. Their lives -- Sarah in the Blue Ridge mountains of South Carolina and Harriet in the piney woods of East Texas -- have run parallel courses: marriage, babies, even opting for separate bedrooms from their husbands at about the same time.
Or are their paths really so similar? Now they find themselves, within the same year, widowed -- and deep-rooted differences surface. For Sarah, marriage was a destructive snare; she finds freedom in nature, reward in a wallpaper business she has created (so women can make rooms of their own), and sexual satisfaction with a man in his late sixties who understands her needs. Harriet is lost, no longer employed as a wife; to protect herself she gets a gun; to bolster herself, a young man's attention.
A life-and-death crisis brings the two women together. In the course of their visit the disharmonies they have never before acknowledged are revealed and their friendship is profoundly changed.
Telling Sarah and Harriet's story, Shelby Hearon has given us a witty, disturbing, and moving novel about the way we see -- and fail to see -- our friends and ourselves.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Here she explores the mysteries and ironies of marriage, friendship, parentage and love with a frank, searching and compassionate eye...Hearon writes with energy and acuity; her wit takes the form of sharp apercus about human nature and society. If her themes are darker here than in previous books, her voice is stronger, more outspoken, and she wisely eschews easy answers to life issues. The narrative speaks instead of grace under pressure, of carrying on after loss and grief, of affirming the day and looking bravely at the future. It's a thoughtful and honest book, with real relevance to our lives."
"In Life Estates Shelby Hearon has written an unblinking and graceful novel of contemporary widowhood, filled with the pleasures and sorrows, loves and deaths of three generations of coping women."
Alix Kates Shulman
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
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- File size:
- 2 MB
Meet the Author
Shelby Hearon was born in Marion, Kentucky, lived for many years in Texas and New York, and now makes her home in Burlington, Vermont. She is the author of sixteen novels, including Footprints, Life Estates, and Owning Jolene, which won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award. She has received an Ingram Merrill grant as well as fellowships for fiction from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and she has twice won the Texas Institute of Letters fiction award. She is the mother of a grown daughter and son.
From the Hardcover edition.
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