Other books byGail Godwin
Queen of the Underworld
Here at last is the eagerly awaited new novel from New York Times bestselling author Gail Godwin. Queen of the Underworld is sweeping and sultry literary fiction, featuring a memorable young heroine and engaging characters whose intimate dramas interconnect with hers. In the summer of 1959, as Castro clamps down on Cuba and its first wave of exiles flees to the States to wait out what they hope to be his short-lived reign, Emma Gant, fresh out of college, begins her career as a reporter. Her fierce ambition and belief in herself are set against the stories swirling around her, both at the newspaper office and in her downtown Miami hotel, which is filling up with refugees. Emma’s avid curiosity about life thrives amid the tropical charms and intrigues of Miami. While toiling at the news desk, she plans the fictional stories she will write in her spare time. She spends her nights getting to know the Cuban families in her hotel–and rendezvousing with her married lover, Paul Nightingale, owner of a private Miami Beach club. As Emma experiences the historical events enveloping the city, she trains her perceptive eye on the people surrounding her: a newfound Cuban friend who joins the covert anti-Castro training brigade, a gambling racketeer who poses a grave threat to Paul, and a former madam, still in her twenties, who becomes both Emma’s obsession and her alter ego. Emma’s life, like a complicated dance that keeps sweeping her off her balance, is suddenly filled with divided loyalties, shady dealings, romantic and professional setbacks, and, throughout, her adamant determination to avoid “usurpation” by others and remain the protagonist of her own quest. From the Hardcover edition.
The Good Husband
"[A] BRILLIANT, WITTY AND PROVOCATIVE NEW NOVEL." --San Francisco Chronicle As a young woman, the brilliant and eternally curious Magda Danvers took the academic world by storm. Then, to everyone's surprise, she married Francis Lake, a mild, midwestern seminarian, who has devoted his life to taking care of his charismatic wife. Now, Magda's grave illness puts their marriage to its ultimate test. Though facing her "Final Examination," Magda continues to arouse her visitors with compelling thoughts and questions. Into this provocative atmosphere comes Alice Henry, retreating from family tragedy and a crumbling marriage to novelist Hugo Henry. But is it the incandescence of Magda's ideas that draws Alice, or the secret of "the good marriage" that she is desperate to discover? For Alice, Hugo, Francis, and Magda will learn that the most ideal relationship--even a perfect marriage--doesn't come without a price.... "COMPELLING WRITING...REMARKABLY SKILLFUL...Gail Godwin shows herself to be at the height of her considerable power as a storyteller and a writer." --The Boston Globe "ONE OF HER FINEST BOOKS...It is not only a well-written story, but a mature and wise one, affirmative in its vision of love, unblinking in its portrayal of tragic loss." --Atlanta Journal & Constitution "FASCINATING...[A] BIG SUMPTUOUS BOOK...HER BEST NOVEL." --Entertainment Weekly "A BRILLIANTLY CRAFTED NOVEL, full of fun and mischief and resonating with wisdom and moral depth." --New Woman A Featured Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
Evenings at Five
Every evening at five o’clock, Christina and Rudy stopped work and began the ritual commonly known as Happy Hour. Rudy mixed Christina’s drink with loving precision, the cavalier slosh of Bombay Sapphire over ice shards, before settling across from her in his Stickley chair with his glass of Scotch. They shared a love of language and music (she is an author, he a composer, after all), a delight in intense conversation, a fascination with popes, and nearly thirty years of life together. What did I think, that we had forever? muses Christina, seven months after Rudy’s unexpected death. While coming to terms with her loss, with the space that Rudy once inhabited, Christina reflects on their vibrant bond—with all its quirks, habits, and unguarded moments—as well as her passionate sorrow and her attempts to reposition herself and her new place in the very real world they shared. In this literary jewel, a bittersweet novella of absence and presence and the mysterious gap between them, Gail Godwin has performed a small miracle. In essence, Evenings at Five is a grief sonata for solo instrument transposed into words. Interwoven with meditations and movements, full of aching truths and a wicked sense of humor, it exquisitely captures the cyclical nature of commitment—and the eternal quality of a romance completed.
The Making of a Writer
Gail Godwin was twenty-four years old and working as a waitress in the North Carolina mountains when she wrote: “I want to be everybody who is great; I want to create everything that has ever been created.” It is a declaration that only a wildly ambitious young writer would make in the privacy of her journal. In the heady days of her literary apprenticeship, Godwin kept a daily chronicle of her dreams and desires, her travels, love affairs, struggles, and breakthroughs. Now, at the urging of her friend Joyce Carol Oates, Godwin has distilled these early journals, which run from 1961 to 1963, to their brilliant and charming essence. The Making of a Writer opens during the feverish period following the breakup of Godwin’s first marriage and her stint as a reporter for The Miami Herald. Aware that she is entering one of the great turning points of her life as she prepares to move to Europe, Godwin writes of the “100 different hungers” that consume her on the eve of departure. A whirlwind trip to New York, the passengers and their stories on board the SS Oklahoma, the shock of her first encounters with Danish customs (and Danish men)–Godwin wonderfully conveys the excitement of a writer embracing a welter of new experience. After a long, dark Scandinavian winter and a gloriously romantic interlude in the Canary Islands, Godwin moves to London and embarks on the passionate engagements that will inspire some of her finest stories. She records the pleasures of soaking in the human drama on long rambles through the London streets–and the torment of lonely Sundays spent wrestling these impressions into prose. She shares her passion for Henry James, Marcel Proust, Lawrence Durrell, Thomas Wolfe–and her terror of facing twenty-six with nothing to show but a rejected novel and a stack of debts. “I do not feel like a failure,” Godwin insists as she sits down yet again to the empty page. “I will keep writing, harder than ever.” Like Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, Gail Godwin’s journals brim with the urgency and wit of a brilliant literary mind meeting the world head on. An inspired and inspiring volume, The Making of a Writer opens a shining window into the life and craft of a great writer just coming into her own. From the Hardcover edition.