Anne Finger has written an enthralling and deeply meaningful story with her novel, A Woman, in Bed. Set in France, it tells the story of Simone Clermont (Vidal before the story starts and Melville later in it) from her days as a young mother during World War I, through her life as a middle-aged woman in World War II, and ends with her an aging woman coping with a disabling illness in the 1960s. Finger has set her novel during what is arguably one of the most tumultuous, fast-changing periods in the history of humanity and she has given characters and situations both concreteness and believability. The book paints a dramatically detailed panorama and brings it to vibrant life.
Amy made their bed while Ed took his shower. Then she poured coffee in a mug at the kitchen table. Tina jumped onto Ed's chair and purred. Outside, rain clouds blocked the sun. The shower spray stopped. Tina stopped purring and stared at the bathroom door.
She filled a bowl with cereal and put some milk in a plastic cover and placed it on the table near the edge. While Amy ate, Tina put her black paws on the table, stretched her neck and lapped the milk.
Manhattan is a world within a world, hard and avant garde The city never sleeps but dreams abound Pick your carnal pleasures if you possess the sufficient cash It will be found And promptly delivered to your penthouse door
"ALS," his doctor had said, and he'd been okay with that. It would take a lot more than three little letters to intimidate Commander Peter Stein. But then the doc spelled it out for him--Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis--and Peter realized he was in trouble. Oh, and those muscle twitches he'd gone in for?
How could any man hope to overcome so many syllables?
As a volunteer, my job was to stand around with a red bag full of donation envelopes and wait for politely-dressed people to make eye contact with me so that I would cruise over to their table and permit them to deposit inquiries in my ears, dripping with silver to match my heels.
I could not do this job. Upon receiving the scanty training, I reported my disability to the volunteer coordinator. “Excuse me, hi. Yes, so, um, I believe that this task will be beyond my visual capacity, so I’m hoping to just back away and, maybe, stand against the wall.”
Every few seasons or so Superman sequesters himself in a private sanctuary along with a ball of kryptonite. The kryptonite disables him. It makes him kin to those desperate bodies with whom he is surrounded and to whom he has made himself devoted. For him this is the retreat into the monk’s cave, the visionary’s desert fast, the sauna chained shut. A confrontation with the self, a self raw and trembling on the cusp of the void.
I am screaming. I am kneeling on the floor of my kitchen, the piles of dirty dishes I have been unable to clean spilling over the sides of the sink and onto the counters. The crusted remnants of dinners I could not cook myself stain the dishes, stain my soul. I am screaming, sobbing, hands threaded into my hair. The strands of greasy hair I have been unable to wash. Pulling. Pulling to withdraw the despair. The hopelessness. I can feel the strands of ugliness, black threads pulsing with anger, wound sinuously through my mind. If only I can pull hard enough.
"Your Father, The Writer: An Exercise in Deus Ex Machina"
Your head’s not right. Hasn’t been for days. Muddled, clouded, fuzzy brained. This machine doesn’t help. You're too accustomed to a computer and don’t have the patience to operate this antiquated hunk of junk. How your father managed all those years, cranking out thousands of pages, you cannot imagine. The response is sluggish, too resistant. At least five keys stick, two of them vowels, creating jams in the well that require careful study and undue diligence to untangle. What good is any writing machine that contests every stroke?