Sunday, 5 May 2013

Light, Coming Back - Ann Wadsworth

The first thing I want to say about this book is that as soon as I finished it I looked for other books by Ann Wadsworth.  None. And this one published in 2001.  I would read others by her if she published as she has a wonderful style, easy, flowing, descriptive.

Mercedes Medina is 59, married to a terminally ill classical cellist 25 years her senior.  He found her, hooked her and married her, and her entire life since has really been about Patrick - is he alright?  is he comfortable? is Bessie (the cello) on the plane? was the last rehearsal OK? would Patrick like anything other than eggs for breakfast?  Patrick is the kind of man I would have walked out on years before, but love is a funny creature, and there is no doubt that she feels that being part Patrick's life is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to her.  So why do we start the book with Mercedes in a mental health facility?

We find out, quickly, that the request to be there came from her:  "I'd rather like someone to cook for me for a while" was what she told her doctor, when she experienced a breakdown.  The book, in three parts, starts then with her feelings some months after the death of Patrick.  She misses him dreadfully, but more than that, she misses Lennie, with whom she fell haltingly but totally in love whilst Patrick was still alive.  It's the darkness of no Patrick and no Lennie (who disappeared just prior to Patrick's death) that haunts Mrs Medina.

The middle section, and by far the largest part of the book, describes her life in the Boston, Mass. apartment she shares with Patrick.  Their life together described in the smallest detail, her feelings about him, the knowledge that he will die very soon. Meanwhile, Patrick is a perky, sarcastic, clever and (for me) thoroughly unlikeable man.  But you know, she loves him.  And then, one day in the local flower shop she meets Lennie.  There's something about Lennie, and Mrs Medina feels she must go back again and again.  They have a few coffees, and she knows what she feels but cannot explain it..... for Lennie is a 30 year old woman.

The front cover of this book has a quote from the Lambda Book Report "Arguably the finest piece of lesbian fiction ever written".  If you want lesbian fiction, I can't say that the quote is true, as I haven't read much of it!  But if you just want a damn good book to read I can recommend this one to any reader who likes a well written story that's a bit different.