From Publishers Weekly
In her second rich, subtle novel, Glass reveals how the past impinges on the present, and how small incidents of fate and chance determine the future. Greenie Duquette has a small bakery in Manhattan's West Village that supplies pastries to restaurants, including that of her genial gay friend Walter. When Walter recommends Greenie to the governor of New Mexico, she seizes the chance to become the Southwesterner's pastry chef and to take a break from her marriage to Alan Glazier, a psychiatrist with hidden issues. Taking their four-year-old son, George, with her, Greenie leaves for New Mexico, while figures from her and Alan's pasts challenge their already strained marriage. Their lives intersect with those of such fully dimensional secondary characters as Fenno McLeod, the gay bookseller from Three Junes
; Saga, a 30-something woman who lost her memory in an accident; and Saga's Uncle Marsden, a Yale ecologist who takes care of her. While this work is less emotionally gripping than Three Junes
, Glass brings the same assured narrative drive and engaging prose to this exploration of the quest for love and its tests—absence, doubt, infidelity, guilt and loss.
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Greenie Duquette loves her cozy life in the West Village, her work as a pastry chef, and her precocious young son. But she is fed up with her husband, Alan, an underemployed psychotherapist whose once passionate beliefs are ossifying into reflexive bitterness. When, in early 2000, the brash Republican governor of New Mexico offers her a lucrative job, she jumps at it; Alan is free to follow her if he chooses. In Glass's sprawling follow-up to her award-winning novel "Three Junes," a dozen or so characters are plunged into the tumultuous dissatisfactions and challenges of middle age, their paths crossing and recrossing with a pleasing mixture of chance and inevitability. Glass is fascinated by the ways people gamble both with and for their happiness, but her characters are a little too decent, generous, and forgiving. Even as we watch their dramas unfold in the shadow of 9/11, the potential horror of irrevocable choices eludes us.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
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