Litany

Rated 4.00/5 based on 1 reviews
When a street girl with attitude meets an itinerant old gardener named Rose, sparks begin to fly, fanned by clashing aesthetics, defenses, and denial into a conflagration of misunderstanding that births an awkward and pragmatic partnership. It's Chicago,1968, and these two and a woman librarian,unaware of the cultural upheaval around them, are as affected as the beach is by the tide. More

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Words: 77,030
Language: English
ISBN: 9780983145813
About Mary Travers

I'm a novelist who lives in Seattle, Washington, raised in Chicago. I've been a newspaper editor and freelancer and a book reviewer. I've won some awards for my writing. This is the first novel I'm putting up.
The three women of Litany , Rose, Sophie and Zak, muddle through loss with grace and humor. They surprise themselves, not realizing that the cultural upheaval around them washes them in protest, sometimes simply against what was planned for them.
I hope you'll join these women on their journey--one they never meant to take. As now, cultural shift eddies around the neighborhoods in towns across America and in this town, Chicago, which is quite resistant to change. As now, people who are ready to fight to stay in their small roles, their comfort areas, are being affected and their lives being effected by what they believe is outside them. The gals are challenging fun, heartbreak and a study in functional dysfunction. The plot is more each's relationship to the world than an arc. There is a trembling beginning, a tottering middle and an earth-is-still-shaking end.

As the breathtaking historian Nell Irvin Painter said only weeks ago, looking at Egypt and Tunisia and I'm sure, the Wisconsin workers:

"2011 may be 1968."

It's available as B &N as a Nook book and at Amazon for the Kindle and as a paperback at both.

Reviews

Review by: Bryn Hammond on March 08, 2012 :
What jolted me awake on the first page was the prose and the character-depth; then Rose won me over and I had to read to the end. The prose is often more ordinary, and at times her experiments, for me, went wrong; but she can write.

Rose is a mad old lady. Not mad in the intellect, as she tells herself once almost for sure - it's her emotions that have gone mad (in a lesser way this has happened to me and I made that distinction). Still, she's crazed; she abandons her house with its memories, she packs a bag and there she is, a bag lady. When we meet her she can't stand to sleep indoors. Because the inside of her head is a rant she rants at other people; she's rude even to the sympathetic, and the writer tells you intimately why.

I think Sophie the librarian is meant to be conventional in every respect, except that she fell in love with Barbara: this gives her a little practice and the ability, later on, to question and defy other conventions. It's a chisel to open her mind - just a crack at first - rather as E.M. Forster designed the character of Maurice. Sophie's grief for dead Barbara, and the fact she cannot even tell her workmates she's in grief, are terrible for us to experience. I ought to warn you about the tragedy in the book.

Zak, a fourteen-year-old girl, didn't convince me the way the others did, and Rose remained the most original.

These three, two women and a girl, are thrown together, and the book's about what comes of that. The setting is Chicago 1968. On every street corner there's a prejudice: black/white; we're in a Polish neighbourhood, with much on when and how you use Polish, use English; the homeless; Sophie who doesn't call herself a lesbian; the hippy guys' treatment of the hippy girls is woeful. Then there are the humane, like Jake who gently and most steadfastly stands up to officialdom and the police, as only the runner of a soup kitchen knows how; and of course Rose.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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