-- Peggy, a London widow at 42, revisits her life.
-- In New York, the 'Queen of Manhattan' surveys her domain.
-- In Sydney, Elsie seeks "the truth" and finds it.
-- Hollywood legends Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow clash in a chronologically impossible meeting on Pago-Pago.
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Women Who Love and Other Stories based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Donovan O'Malley manages to annually put before the public a story - or this case a series of stories - inimitably his own. Usually the emphasis is on high comedy, as in the highly successful books LEMON GULCH, THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING SPUNK, OUR YANK, THE JIIMMY JONES SKANDAL and THE FANTASTICAL MYSTERY OF RITTERHOUSE FAY. That is not to say that these previous novels were without the human element of tragedy or that O'Malley is incapable of writing anything but light comedy: there is in all of his works a running thread of tenderness at the core of each of his primary characters. Likely that comes from his forte as a dramatist: his plays have been produced widely to receptive audiences when they have been broadcast in several countries. But for this reader (and ardent fan of O'Malley's writings) WOMEN WHO LOVE & OTHER STORIES takes on a different direction. Oh there is plenty of high comedy writing here so those who follow him will not be the least bit disappointed. But these stories, like the title chosen for this review - a familiar passage from the Beatles' song `Eleanor Rigby' - focus more on women and their foibles and failings than do his other male centric novels. And it works. The lead story and title story introduces Peggeen, a new widow, slightly out of sorts from the death of her physician husband Willy who happened to be a handsome man with a roving eye and with whom Peggy's friends had special ties. Peggy returns home from the funeral, begins drinking, is hassled by her best friend, the alcoholic Margaret who loved her Willy and by her other friend Jean who patronizingly tries to squelch Peggy's dramatic mourning. Peggy relies on old home movie films she took of Willy stating his love for her while mooning and displaying himself to Margaret, and when the old films are too crumbly to see well, she visits a Photoshop where she seduces the shop's young Tim to transfer her film to videotape and invites him to her home to set up a television and where she, out of the need for affection if not love, brings him to her bed. The noise of the adulteress Margaret and the nosy Jean figure into the end of the story - a tale that though we don't particularly like Peggy, we still want to stay by her side as she traverses the battleground of mourning. Other stories describe `Big Gertrude', a once massively obese woman who transfers her less than satisfactory life to a written one whose main character is Sybil, a bus conductress, who transports Gertrude to a hospital that has more meaning than the opening of the tale would suggest. And there is the Island Queen, the richest lady in Manhattan, whose language betrays her hick roots, and who simply cannot connect with the too generously supported children who refuse to call: her love for them is misshaped and unrequited. And on it goes with forays into the junction of Hollywood glamour queens Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford in a most bizarre situation, etc etc. O'Malley continues to prove that he is one of the more important writers around, a writer who with every book brings into our lives some very strange, often exceedingly humorous, and now, frequently very lonely His ability to create language for each of his characters is sharp, well studied and written, and without belittling anyone he, in language, shows the difference between class, and education, and exposure.