Stewart O’Nans novel “Emily, Alone” is a very delicate, quiet, reserved, modest novel. It focuses on the 80-year-old Emily Maxwell, who lives in a once prestigious, middle-class home in Pittsburgh. Her husband, Henry died a few years ago from cancer, children Margaret and Kenneth live with their families far away, as that could be taken up to times. Left to her – in addition to the ever increasingly thick Spaniel Rufus – the only fixed reference persons Arlene, her sister, with whom she meets almost daily, and Betty, who comes every Wednesday to clean. Emily can with their condition quite appreciate happy: Although it takes worrying and is a bit frail, but on the whole it is healthy and mentally alert. Of course, it is the inevitable fact aware that her remaining life span is getting shorter.
We accompany Emily a piece of their path from the Christmas season until the summer. Her daily life is not spectacular, everything works, quiet but steadily there. Sundays she visits with Arlene worship, Tuesdays they go to brunch in a small restaurant, and now and then they visit the club where Henry for many years was a member.
How much Emily longs for her children and their grandchildren! A phone call, post cards, which would make them happy. But it wants to impose on anyone, and her relationship with daughter Margaret is also burdened for years. That is divorced, has long been dependent on alcohol, is often out of work and can only hold so just financially afloat. Son Kenneth has drawn a better fate than he, the daughter of a very wealthy family married Lisa. Emily, however, Lisa’s world of fine circuits on Cape Cod is foreign. Her life she was a frugal, principled, decent woman who completely old-fashioned , for example, still emphasis on Christmas mail. their impression over the years has confirmed and solidified Lisa containing her son and children aware of before and speaking invitations so short of time that Emily can not comply with them. Now Emily hopes that her greatest wish may come true: If only the whole family could come for Christmas together to Pittsburgh …
There are the quiet, smooth tones in Stewart O’Nans Roman (translated by Thomas Gunkel) seem so impressive. With what respect, with what tender devotion he dedicated to the old lady who is almost a gift for the many older people who have to put up with her alone, yet like Emily make the best of it.
‘ve Previously I read not make the novel of this kind. There are plenty of very good literature that deals with the dignified death, as well as questionable works that poke fun at the expense of the old.
“Emily alone” is content simply but impressively sensitive to the little things that can make life.