Starting Out in the Evening

Mariner. 2007. 336p. ISBN 9780156033411. pap. $14.
Matching Carlene Bauer's Frances and Bernard for its quiet power, nuanced intimacy, careful construction, and focus on the literary life, Morton's title may please readers who are interested in novels about writers and the heartfelt repercussions of relationships. Leonard Schiller is an aging novelist, all but lost now to obscurity and facing the end of his days with the dream of writing one last work. Into his life storms the ambitious Heather Wolfe, a young graduate student intent on making Schiller the subject of her thesis and the key to her career—before she even meets him she is dreaming of editing the Portable Schiller. Morton's novel advances in graceful arcs as he traces how the two relate, and mixes into their relationship Schiller's adult daughter, Ariel, and her own concerns and ties. A beautifully realized novel, it holds the same kind of elegiac grace as Frances and Bernard.
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