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Florence Gordon

Florence Gordon - Brian Morton Got this from Firstreads.

It seems to me that this is more like a collection of character sketches of Florence and her son, his wife, and their daughter. Four characters, each interesting in their own way, but none so much as Florence herself. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with her. Her son and granddaughter were also very enjoyable. I really relished these characters.

But there's no real plot in the novel sense. All four characters have pathologically bad communication skills, so they rarely say anything meaningful to each other. They are all suffering in their own little worlds, afraid to show any emotion, share any news, connect in a real way with each other. A deeply dysfunctional family, owing mostly? partly? to the example that Florence sets. And when no real communication happens, no growth happens, and the novel ends before anything significant happens (rather abruptly, as if to make some point that it appears I missed). So it is a collection of character sketches and missed opportunities. Charming, but in the end deeply sad.

Perhaps the point is to look for the connections that Florence does manage to make with her granddaughter Emily, despite the fact that they don't speak directly with each other. Florence, with all her famous radical directness, can't speak directly to her family members. In imitating her, her family makes the same mistake. Perhaps the lack of progress is the story here. I'm still working with some of the ideas. But in the end, it was sad and dissatisfying, as wonderful as the characters were.