The Conditions Of Love by Dale M. Kushner - 384 pages
Dale M. Kushner's novel The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love. In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a manicureeste and movie star worshipper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. When her mother's lover, the devoted Sam, moves in, Eunice imagines her life will finally become normal. But her hope dissolves when Sam gets kicked out, and she is again alone with her mother. A freak storm sends Eunice away from all things familiar. Rescued by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice's odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit's shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. Through her capacity to redefine herself, reject bitterness and keep her heart open, she survives and flourishes. In this, she is both ordinary and heroic. At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival. Through sheer force of will, Eunice saves herself from a doomed life.
My Review: 3 stars
Although this book only got 3 stars, I must say I LOVED the writing. Learning the author is a poet by trade and that this was her first novel came as no surprise to me. The language is fluid and all your senses are heightened in her spot on descriptions of not just places and things but also intangible emotions of fear and love. Each of the three distinct sections of this book were individually wonderful but together I didn’t find them believable. The middle section seemed most out of character for Eunice and her story. If you enjoy smart writing, I highly recommend this book.
Quotes I liked:
- “I never knew how talkative grief was.”
- “Home! I finally had one, though it was nothing as solid as even a house of wax: it was a ramshackle construction made of atoms of love.”
- “Maybe fate was always ahead of us, throwing crumbs for us to follow.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming Of Age
Labels: 2013, Coming Of Age, Fiction, Historical Fiction