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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Literary
  • Language:English
  • Pages:410
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781735027371

Dancing in the Kitchen

by Susan Sterling

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Overview
This terrific debut novel explores the unraveling of secrets in a New England family after the unexpected death of the father. The story is set in the fall of 1989 in a mill town in Maine, a New Hampshire village, and the Midlands of England. It is narrated alternately by the grown children: Annie, a minister's wife who has fallen into a troubled affair with her husband's best friend, and Rob, a labor historian who resists his sister's interpretations of their shared past, even as his own relationships become complicated by emotional legacies and a mysterious stranger. Returning to her childhood home in Three Rivers, Maine, two months after her father's death, Annie struggles to understand the past, certain that in its mysteries lie the answers to her present dilemma. An artist and the mother of a four-year-old daughter, she finds herself caught between a faltering marriage and an affair that has rekindled her long dormant passion for painting. The central dilemma for all the characters is whether they will follow their passions and actively seek out joy in their lives, or stay in honorable but at some level loveless relationships. Grief impels them into risky territory, and their choices are complicated.
Description
This terrific debut novel explores the unraveling of secrets in a New England family after the unexpected death of the father. The story is set in the fall of 1989 in a mill town in Maine, a New Hampshire village, and the Midlands of England. It is narrated alternately by the grown children: Annie, a minister's wife who has fallen into a troubled affair with her husband's best friend, and Rob, a labor historian who resists his sister's interpretations of their shared past, even as his own relationships become complicated by emotional legacies and a mysterious stranger. Returning to her childhood home in Three Rivers, Maine, two months after her father's death, Annie struggles to understand the past, certain that in its mysteries lie the answers to her present dilemma. An artist and the mother of a four-year-old daughter, she finds herself caught between a faltering marriage and an affair that has rekindled her long dormant passion for painting. The central dilemma for all the characters is whether they will follow their passions and actively seek out joy in their lives, or stay in honorable but at some level loveless relationships. Grief impels them into risky territory, and their choices are complicated.
About the author
Susan Sterling's essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, Down East magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the North American Review, and other literary journals, and have been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing 1998; The Way Life Should Be: Stories by Contemporary Maine Writers; The Berkeley Literary Women's Revolution; and A Healing Touch: True Stories of Life, Death, and Hospice. Her essay "Radiation Blooms" received the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize from Crab Orchard Review. She has an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and lives with her husband, Paul Machlin, in Falmouth, Maine.
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