Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Secret words, by Jonathan Strong

I read this because a friend of a friend insisted the author was a great writer (I believe he knows him.)  And I hasten to add that this is a different person than the Jonathan Strong who seems to be at Breitbart.  Well, if he’s great, he’s also undiscovered by the masses.  I had to get the book through ILL from Arkansas.  It was published in 1992 and does not seem to have been widely read.  It was a little odd.  The main character, Barbara Orsini, is the overweight youngest sibling in a big Italian Catholic family.  When she finally finds a job she’s good at and a small apartment she can afford, she finds herself drawn to her downstairs neighbor, Paul, a black graduate student from the West Indies who is so poor he is basically living in the space beneath the stairs.  It’s a love story of sorts.  Sweet in its own way, but rather improbable.  223 pp.

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