Sunday, May 03, 2015

Amanda Cross. The Players Come Again

     Amanda Cross. The Players Come Again (1990) A publisher asks Kate Fansler to write a biography of Gabrielle Foxx, wife of a Very Important Modernist Novelist. Ann Gringold, connected to the Foxxes through childhood friendship with Dorinda Goddard and Nellie Foxx, has written a memoir, and has custody of Gabrielle’s papers. There follows a meandering tale of travels and conversations and revelations and direct and indirect commentary on the academic literature racket. There is a murder, far in the past, but it’s not relevant to the problem of whether Kate will write the biography. What matters is how four lives intersected, and how Kate (and therefore we) realise that no life can be fully known. Biography, like any narrative, is made from limited materials.
     All three women, now in their 60s, have made peace with their pasts, and have freed themselves from their connections to men. They have found out how to live on their own terms, which for two of them does include a man, but not a husband. Kate likes them all. We realise that the reason she’s married Reed Amhearst (who has a walk-on role) is that each expects the other to be autonomous. An ideal marriage is one of equals, but to be an equal partner you must know yourself.
     Not a conventional mystery, but a good read. ***

No comments: