In the GloamingPosted: 2011/01/01
Dark, Alice Elliot. In the Gloaming: stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
When I first saw Ms. Dark’s photo on the inside jacket of In the Gloaming I thought it was a gloomy picture and hoped the stories inside would not reflect the author’s sad expression. In a way it was a premonition. Of all the stories in In the Gloaming only two were not tinged with sadness and general dissatisfaction. Every story is comprised of three components: characters with dilemmas or decisions to make, human interactions that depend on the outcome of the dilemma or decision, and a sparse plot serving as a thin backdrop to the character conflict.
Case in point: Mother and son get to know each other in the title story. Son is dying of AIDS while father slips out of the picture. Mother’s dilemma is whether to acknowledge her son’s inevitable demise or pretend his life has hope. Another example, in “The Jungle Lodge” two sisters are on vacation in the Amazon. One sister has the dilemma of whether or not to tell the other she had been raped while discovering her sister’s improper relationship. One last dilemma. In “Close” a man’s dilemma is which woman to continue a relationship with, his pretty mistress or his pregnant wife while learning his childhood home is up for sale.Each dilemma or decision has an impact on the supporting characters.
Favorite line, “There was something about the way they were touching that seemed to surpass the medicinal purpose they’d claimed” (p 54).
Author Fact: Alice Elliott Dark has her own blog on blogspot. I checked it out and was surprised to see only 15 posts, but then again it was only started in September 2010.
Book Trivia: The title story was made into a movie for HBO starring Glenn Close and directed by Christopher Reeves. Yes, another movie I have yet to see.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “My Name is Alice: (p 1). Funny thing, In the Gloaming was somehow omitted from the index of Book Lust. It should have been indexed between In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz and In the Kingdom of Air. Oh well.