By Wallace Stegner
Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's nationwide booklet Award-winning novel, The Spectator chicken, returns during this disquieting and keenly saw novel. Scarred through the mindless demise in their son and baffled by means of the engulfing chaos of the Nineteen Sixties, Allston and his spouse, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And even though their new domestic feels like Eden, it additionally has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of gear, yoga, and intercourse; and Marian Catlin, an enticing younger girl whose otherworldly innocence is way extra appealing—and way more harmful.
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Additional info for All the Little Live Things (Contemporary American Fiction)
I came down here vaguely mumbling about finally starting on the memoirs. But the last thing I want to think about is what a retired literary agent used to do before he retired, and the people he used to do it among. I am concerned with gloomier matters: the condition of being flesh, susceptible to pain, infected with consciousness and the consciousness of consciousness, doomed to death and the awareness of death. My life stains the air around me. I am a tea bag left too long in the cup, and my steepings grow darker and bitterer.
With his motives I couldn’t quarrel. That bottom was lovely, and he did need an airing. But I didn’t want him getting so attached to the spot that he would make it his standard meditating place, for I felt almost with panic—panic? yes, exactly—the threat of unpeace that lurked there from the moment he set his hoof in the dry duff under that bay tree. Turn away, have nothing to do with him. Danger, danger, danger. ” Ruth said. ” He managed to make it sound as if he had confessed to having chancres under the helicopter suit.
Cherry blossoms in October were exactly the sort of thing from which Marian would have derived one of her passionate lessons about life. Ruth got out of the car. “I’m going to lie down for a while. ” The white hand was laid like a policeman’s on my arm. “Joe,” she said, “don’t take it out in highballs, now. ” I said, but her clairvoyance had put a barrier between me and a place I had half-consciously planned to visit. When I get sad or upset I can be a pantry drinker, and she knows it. She pecked me with a kiss.