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Roxana Robinson

Author of Cost

12+ Works 1,307 Members 48 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Roxana Robinson is an art historian and novelist and the author of ten books. Four of these were chosen as New York Times Notable Books, two as New York Times Editors' Choices. Her fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper's Best American Short Stories, Tin House, and has been show more anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio, and she is a recipient of both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships. show less

Works by Roxana Robinson

Cost (2008) 369 copies
Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life (1901) 364 copies
Sweetwater (2003) 121 copies
Sparta (2013) 115 copies
This Is My Daughter (1998) 110 copies
Leaving: A Novel (2024) 59 copies
Summer Light (1988) 49 copies
Dawson's Fall (2019) 34 copies
Asking for Love (1996) 22 copies
This Is America (2010) 2 copies

Associated Works

A View of the Harbour (1947) — Introduction, some editions — 578 copies
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton (2007) — Editor, some editions; Introduction, some editions — 331 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1994 (1994) — Contributor — 242 copies
Fourteen Days: A Collaborative Novel (2022) — Contributor — 165 copies
The Best Early Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Modern Library Classics) (2005) — Foreword, some editions — 155 copies
The Best American Mystery Stories 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 144 copies
Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave (2007) — Contributor — 64 copies
New Haven Noir (2017) — Contributor — 45 copies
The Second Penguin Book of Modern Women's Short Stories (1997) — Contributor — 27 copies
The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers (2018) — Contributor — 23 copies

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Reviews

This book haunts me. Robinson raises questions of morality, loyalty, betrayal and what we owe to others and to ourselves. She offers no answers. My parents (now deceased) divorced after over 50 years of marriage when my mother left my father for another man so this book may resonate more powerfully with me.
 
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ccayne | 5 other reviews | Apr 18, 2024 |
Seems so simple: former lovers bump into each other at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC; they're in their 60s; she's divorced and a widow, he's married. Their relationship began in high school but she broke up with him in the college days, for fear of his unreliability, and marries a man who defines that word. He married when it was time, choosing a woman who was pretty and funny and sadly shallow. Two poor matches. Now can Sarah and Warren make up for forty lost years? Family disasters intervene in the form of a recalcitrant, unforgiving, headstrong daughter, and another daughter almost dies in childbirth. Choices and forces drive them apart. This is a heartbreaker and a heart-revealer, touching, warm, smart, and beautifully written, with the most believable and sympathetic characters imaginable. Robinson, consistently thoughtful, has never written a false word.… (more)
 
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froxgirl | 5 other reviews | Apr 1, 2024 |
This novel, an insightful and powerful examination of a conflict between honour and passion, asks what we owe both others and ourselves.

Forty years after their breakup in college, a chance meeting brings together Warren Jennings and Sarah Watson. Sarah, a museum curator, is a mother and grandmother who has been divorced for almost two decades. Warren, a successful architect, has been married to Janet for 34 years, and they have one daughter, 24-year-old Katrina. The two rekindle their relationship even though Sarah lives near New York and Warren lives in Boston. Warren admits to not being completely happy in his marriage; though Janet “has given him everything she has. It’s not enough.” When he tells her he wants a divorce, Janet resists and then Katrina threatens to totally cut him out of her life. Both Warren and Sarah must decide what they are willing and not willing to leave behind for true love.

The book raises so many questions. Is it morally acceptable to leave a marriage in order to pursue personal happiness or should personal happiness be sacrificed for the greater good, to protect “family, order, duty, honor”? What responsibilities does a parent have for grown children who are living independently? How does a parent maintain a connection with grown children? Should adult children have the power to emotionally control their parents? What do we owe ourselves and others when our choices have consequences, both for ourselves and others?

Point of view is particularly effective. The reader is given both Sarah and Warren’s perspectives. Because we are given their thoughts and feelings, we get to know them intimately. We experience their joys and sorrows and understand their motivations. We might not agree with their decisions, but we can follow their thought processes.

My feelings about the characters did not remain static. This speaks to the complexity of the characters: good but flawed people. Warren, for instance, had my sympathy as he sees his future as a life sentence of “the torture of false intimacy” or life without his daughter, yet I also felt anger because he sometimes seems so weak in his encounters with Katrina. His choice at the end, not removing his backpack, tells a lot about his character. I wanted to shout at the young Sarah for being so quick to jump to conclusions about Warren. Why didn’t she speak to him openly about her concerns? But of course “She’d known nothing about choosing a husband.” At times she tries to minimize her role in breaking up Warren’s marriage. On the other hand, her efforts to connect to Meg and Jeff are so sincere. The one person whom I consistently did not like is Katrina who just seems selfish, emotionally immature, manipulative, and implacably judgmental.

The ending is perfect. Given the discussions of operas and tragedies, it is predictable, but given what has gone before and Warren’s character, it is entirely appropriate. I would love a sequel focusing on the three women and their thoughts/reactions to Warren’s choice at the end. Would they question what happened and re-evaluate their actions? Would Sarah, if she suspected what happened, see Warren’s action as breaking the social contract “to see this through to the end”?

I highly recommend this book which has so much depth. It is so well-written: I loved the allusions to literature, art and the opera which work so well in developing theme. It is such an honest and authentic portrayal of marriage and family relationships. The novel would be an excellent choice for book clubs because it is so thought-provoking. Readers will certainly have strong feelings about who behaved honourably and who let passion rule and broke moral codes.

Note: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Please check out my reader's blog (https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/) and follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DCYakabuski).
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½
1 vote
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Schatje | 5 other reviews | Feb 12, 2024 |
"Her parents were drifting away, locked in a losing struggle with their bodies, their minds. The tide was going out."

Julia, a divorced art professor, is spending the summer at her Maine house when it becomes apparent that her younger son Jack has descended into the hell of heroin addiction. The novel follows Julia and her family's journey as they attempt to rescue Jack. The story, told from alternating points of view of the various family members, including Julia's parents, her father a cold and controlling retired neurosurgeon, her mother in the beginnings of Alzheimers, her ex-husband, Jack's older brother, and Jack himself, is a devastating one. It is not easy to read, and people more knowledgeable than me state that it paints an accurate description of the dirty side of an addict's life and what it is like to go through withdrawal an rehab, and of course how rarely rehab is successful. The focus is not entirely on the addict, however, but how addiction affects, and sometimes destroys, the entire family.

This is an excellent book. "Enjoyable" is not the word, but it is a book definitely well-worth reading. My only complaint is that Julia at times seemed too naive, too willing to accept Jack's lies and deceptions, and she took entirely too long to accept the reality of Jack's addiction. But, I suppose that's what a mother's love would do.

4 stars
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arubabookwoman | 17 other reviews | Aug 19, 2021 |

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Works
12
Also by
13
Members
1,307
Popularity
#19,642
Rating
3.8
Reviews
48
ISBNs
67
Languages
4
Favorited
1

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