By Wallace Stegner
Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's nationwide ebook Award-winning novel, The Spectator fowl, returns during this disquieting and keenly saw novel. Scarred via the mindless demise in their son and baffled by way of the engulfing chaos of the Nineteen Sixties, Allston and his spouse, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And even though their new domestic feels like Eden, it additionally has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of gear, yoga, and intercourse; and Marian Catlin, an enticing younger lady whose otherworldly innocence is much extra appealing—and way more risky.
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Extra info for All the Little Live Things (Contemporary American Fiction)
We turned into Ladera Lane under big gum trees whose bark was starting to peel to reveal the delicate pastels underneath and whose fallen buttons, crushed by passing cars, filled the air with the smell I could never dissociate from the 1918 flu epidemic, during which we went around in gauze masks soaked in that pungent oil. Past the riding stable—more girls, no boys—and down a sudden gully smelling of bay and sage, around the comer of a walnut orchard to Roble Road and along it up a long hogback, the first crest visible from our house, until we came out on a windy plateau with puckers of woods below us and hills between us and the mountain.
A green canvas patio chair, one of those bat-shaped things, sat on it beside a length of redwood log that acted as a coffee table. A beer can stood on the log. The tent was ill pitched, its ropes straining the canvas into wrinkles and its sidewalls drooping, but even so the place looked snug. Why the hell didn’t we think of putting a camp down here? I asked Ruth. After Peck moved out we ought to build ourselves a teahouse, with a high arching Japanese bridge, so that in the rainy season we could go down there and brew a pot of tea and listen to the un-Californian sound of running water.
That old bald-pate I? Good God. Is that what Ruth sees? What Marian regarded with affection and amusement? What Curtis rejected and was rejected by? And if I am so strange from the outside, am I so sure I know myself any better from within? How do I know what I think till I see what I say, somebody asks, kidding the Philistines. But I can’t think the question so stupid. How do I know what I think unless I have seen what I say? For two years I cultivated the condition that Marian called twilight sleep.
All the Little Live Things (Contemporary American Fiction) by Wallace Stegner