LATTICING One Cherry Pie After Another, An Ohio Housewife Tries To Bridge The Gaps Between Reality And The Torrent Of Meaningless Info That Is The United States Of America She Worries About Her Children, Her Dead Parents, African Elephants, The Bedroom Rituals Of Happy Couples , Weapons Of Mass Destruction, And How To Hatch An Abandoned Wood Pigeon Egg Is There Some Trick To Surviving Survivalists School Shootings Medical Debts Franks N Beans A Scorching Indictment Of America S Barbarity, Past And Present, And A Lament For The Way We Are Sleepwalking Into Environmental Disaster, Ducks, Newburyport Is A Heresy, A Wonder And A Revolution In The NovelIt S Also Very, Very Funny That fact that this is a 1000 page novel in the form of a list of an Ohio homemaker baker s anxieties and neuroses, the fact that across these intoxicating and scathing and fear scorched pages the whole of contemporary America is encapsulated, the fact that a semicolon is never once wielded for the whole production, the fact that the housewife represents the lost moral conscience of an amoral nation, that fact that she refers to the ass as the sit me down upon, the fact that reading this novel will reaffirm your love of uncompromising maximalist masterpieces, and strengthen your loathing for humankind and its destructors, the fact that there are sub lists within the central list than a bucket of Rabelaises, the fact that interrupting the list is a narrative concerning a lioness whose cubs are stolen, the fact that this narrative illustrates in miniature the manner in which human beings punch everything in the face repeatedly and never stop, that fact that Arvo P rt is referenced four times, the fact that Brexit is not, the fact that a novel spanning over five times the length of the average novel and written without paragraph breaks with no linear structure or character development or pageturning plot is fucking entertaining that whatever piddle is being released from Random House this week, the fact that Ellmann has written the Great American Novel for our times, that fact that it falls to a swaggering small press to release this Leviathan, the fact that the publisher sent me a lollipop along with my review copy, the fact that the novel is coming soon, the fact that it exists and you will have the pleasure and privilege of reading this work of serious and searing kindness and humanity. I m not sure I can do this I m completely sure that I am not qualified to do this Lucy Ellmann s Ducks, Newburyport is a big book in every sense of the word It is long, very long It is innovative It takes on big, universal subjects I ll tell you a bit about my experience of reading it I don t feel worthy to do any than that.It opens with a lioness a mountain lion important to note or you might get confused when she purrs She will come back into the story again and again, on a journey that is initially puzzling how does this fit into the main narrative, what s it all about but soon becomes emotionally engaging and then integral to the overall arc of the story.But the lioness sections are just one or two pages at a time and infrequent The bulk of the book is the internal monologue of our narrator, told without full stops in a sort of stream of consciousness that swirls around, often repeating thoughts and ideas, filled with a flow of word associations, sudden memories, ongoing worries, reactions to events, recollections of recent dreams etc., all marked by her trademark phrase the fact that , the fact that car crashes are up twenty percent since 2009, haw tree, buckeye, black walnut, hickory, butternut, the fact that Stacy s old enough to handle the road but the other kids aren t, the fact that a little boy was killed in his bed just the other day by a skidding car crashing into his house, Ben asleep, the fact that there are two cardinals right now in the lilac tree, brown sugar, She earns money by making pies She worries about her family She worries about the state of the world She has no time at all for Donald Trump She is scared by the gun culture in her country She worries about the environment She is deeply affected by the loss of her parents, especially her mother, when she was younger, although she says that at least they never had to know Donald Trump would one day be president, the fact that who would ve expected that, the fact that I always thought he was just some failed businessman who liked building ugly skyscrapers, and now he gets to rule the world, with a smartphone and that thin pad of hair on his head, grab em by the smartphone, You might think that reading 1000 pages of someone s internal thoughts with a continuous repeating verbal tick could get annoying or boring I am sure there are some people who will find it one or other of those, or both But I found it and engaging, and engrossing page by page It is often very funny when she writes a list of things we can rely on happening, she includes Jane Fonda will improve herself and write and books explaining how we can all be and like herAnd she brings joy to my pedantic heart with her concern about grammar, semantics and pronunciation some people will wrongly call octopuses octopi and misuse the word enormity and mispronounce February and library She doesn t tell you a story It is up to the reader to piece things together and work out who is who With some characters like her children , it is quickly obvious who they are But with others you have to wait for a few clues until the penny drops Likewise with her history it is revealed in a scattered fashion as her thoughts dance over her life events There are some things no spoilers here that seem very significant but just get a single mention, or maybe a couple of mentions, and things don t come in chronological order but are included when her random thoughts take her there.Behind the word play was it a cat I saw, able was I ere I saw Elba , we gradually get to know a very frightened woman At several points, I was reminded of Samantha Schweblin s Fever Dream and its concept of rescue distance how long it would take to reach your child in an emergency And there are many, many literary references through the book which I now wish I had done to keep track of , some directly referring to other books often Laura Ingalls Wilder or Anne Tyler, but many others, as well, including Jane Austen and sometimes, as with my memory of rescue distance just making me think of other books I have read and I don t know whether they are deliberate references or just my own random word associations So, for example the fact that trees seem in a different time zone from us, and they live so much longer than we do, but still, they are our companions, put me in mind of Richard Powers Pulitzer winning The Overstory and the fact that the sky is now peach, mauve, sky blue, gray, blue gray, shocking pink, orange, yellow and a pale creamy blue, all at the same time, brought back memories of a scene from the Booker winning Milkman by Anna Burns.You are on a journey when you read this book The narrator s stream of consciousness will suck you in It will make you laugh, it may well make you cry It could very possibly make you angry Some of it references violent events from America s past and it is not, on a few pages, very pleasant reading at all As you read her thoughts, you will read a heartfelt criticism of America s past and present, one that by implication spreads far wider than just America as it examines human motivations The human narrator shows us the inhumanity of man The non human protagonist in the much shorter parallel narrative shows us the humanity of the natural world.I would love to talk with others at some point about the pieces of information we all managed to glean and put together to form a picture of our narrator s life story I don t want to put my thoughts here as I think that would spoil it for others.I ll stop, although there is still so much to think about This is, quite simply, a wonderful book I appreciate that the length and the unusual structure might be off putting for some, but, based on my reading experience, the length is a joy rather than a chore and the unusual structure only serves to make it engaging and satisfying to read I really hope lots of other people will give it a go. Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019This is a brave, unique and ambitious book, so full credit to Galley Beggar press for stepping in where Lucy Ellmann s previous publishers baulked, and giving it such wholehearted support Having spent a week reading it intensely, I feel that this is a book that entirely justifies their faith in it.The core of the book is an interior monologue, written as a single run on sentence that is unbroken throughout most of the 988 pages, logging several months in the life of its narrator, an unnamed housewife, formerly of Connecticut and Illinois, now living in Newcomerstown, Tuscarawas, Ohio, with her husband Leo, a saint, scientist and expert on bridges, a daughter Stacy from a previous marriage, and their three younger children Ben, Gillian and Jake, the fact that the narrator s parents both died young, her mother was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and almost drowned there as a small child trying to chase ducks, the fact that the narrator barely breaks even spending her days making pies and cakes to sell, and keeping chickens, and she is obsessed with the state of America, gun violence, the destruction of the environment and Ohio s history, not least the brutal aspects of it.The main narrative is interrupted at irregular intervals with the story of a cougar lioness whose travels crisscross Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, and her three newborn cubs These are written in normal, even sometimes short sentences, but for me this does not stop the rest of the book being at least arguably an unbroken sentence, because these parts are like inserted pictures, and are not preceded by full stops or followed by capital letters This story does eventually start to touch on the events of the main monologue In an attempt to work out what percentage of the story these comprise, I made a list of their page numbers pages 11 12 before the start of the main monologue , 91 93, 113 4, 241 2, 307 8, 370 1, 406 7, 439 40, 471 3, 495 7, 516 7, 570 2, 591, 630 1, 672 3, 730 1, 742 3, 786 7, 828 30, 872 3, 885 7, 912 3, 925 7, 937 9, 949, 957 9 There are four other places where some white space occurs p168 a list of slogans that appear on a school neon sign, p199 a let them eat cake flyer for the business, p454 6 a list of freezer contents, some things are definite, like followed by a list that runs from p645 672 At first the book, and particularly the monologue, seems infuriatingly relentless, plotless and random, but hints of momentous events start to appear after a while, gradually accumulate, and by the end, and especially in the last 50 pages a complex, dramatic and moving story has emerged, and the place of the lioness in the story is clarified, and the narrative technique also gains power as the reader gets used to its quirks Much of it is topical, and it is often very funny.The story ends at page 998, after which there is an eclectic and oddly charming 25 page list of the many abbreviations in the book, some of which are serious and others changed for comic effect for example MAGA becomes Make America Gyrate Again , followed by a couple of pages of apposite quotes.There are many words, phrases and topics that crop up repeatedly, for example The fact that there must be several thousand of these , Amish and Witness, one of many extended film references , bananas that are radioactive, bears, boarlets, crazee, Cy Young, dceaglecam, derecho, De Smet, Ducky Ducky, galoshes and the history of galoshes in the movies , goiters, hydrangea, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House, and Almanzo , macrophage, nanoparticles, nurdles Jake s favourite playthings , earworm song Mele Kalikimaka, pepperpot soup Leo s favourite , poffertjes, quotes from Jabberwocky, rose madder, Silent Spring, sit me down upon, me oh mys and other euphemisms, stink bugs, styptic stick, Swiffer, tardigrade, tartes tatin, turtles stuck in plastic beercan rings, wolf eels.Here are a few quotes that amused me the fact that it is kind of unlikely that there is just one Abominable Snowman, given the way biology usually works, and reproduction and all, the fact that after all there seem to be some Abominable Snowmen in Tibet too, the fact that if it s all one guy, he must be a real jetsetter, Abominable Jetsetter, Abominable love miles, rushing across the globe to visit his Abominable Snowwoman and Abominable Snowchildren, Abominable Snowpeople, Snowmom, the fact that nobody ever seems to see an Abominable Snowmom nursing an Abominable Snowbaby, the fact that I wonder if a litter of Abominable Snowchildren would be welcomed into our abominable school system the fact that Trump is like King Lear with all his tantrums, the fact that he even has a favourite daughter, the fact that people are lining up to play the Fool, Sparkle Plenty doll, Swanson TV dinners, the fact that at least King Lear could form a sentence, the fact that soon we won t remember what it s like to have a president that can do that, the fact that it s lucky King Lear wasn t in charge of any nuclear codes, Blow winds the fact that I just realized that when this monologue in my head stops, I ll be dead, or at least totally unconscious, like a vegetable or something, the fact that there are seven and a half billion people in the world, so there must be seven and a half billion of these internal monologues going on, apart from all the unconscious people, that s seven and a half billion people worrying about their kids, or their moms, or both, as well as taxes and window sills and medical bills the fact that I ll never know why she wrote that NAZI POTUS slogan on her shirt and wore it to school the very day they were taking the class photo, with Stacy right there in the front row, the fact that she says she didn t know they were taking the photo that day but she would have worn it anyway, if she had, the fact that she was all excited about it being in the photo, but then when we got the finished photo, they d blanked the photo out, so her T shirt no longer said SUPER CALLOUS FRAGILE RACIST SEXIST NAZI POTUS, it didn t say anything, for once, the fact that it just looked like she had a plain black T shirt on the fact that it s just like the way they get about immigrants, the fact that maybe they ve confused the lion with an undocumented alien, a non native incomer that entered Ohio illegally, newcomer, Newcomerstown, Cheechako, Dreamer, a Mexican puma, the fact that Newcomerstown was once called Neighbourtown, so I am really out of place here, since I am not a good neighbour Overall, this is the kind of book that thoroughly deserved its recognition by the Booker prize, and it has to be a strong contender for both the Goldsmiths Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize too Not an easy read, but an extraordinary achievement that rewards persistence. the fact that this is longlisted for the 2019 booker prize, longlisted, longleat, lions of longleat, mountain lion the fact that madeleines are like little memory sticks, but when you bite into one you get closure, the fact that all her life that mountain lion has been alone and free and unnamed, and now she has a name and she s not free any, and that s sort of spooky, or is it just the thought of the way she lived before, so alone and hidden from the world, that spooks me, the fact that I m pretty alone and hidden from the world myself a lot of the time, but not the way a mountain lion, the fact that I think it d be great if the right to bear arms thing turned out to be about wearing short sleeves, the right to bare arms, or else maybe they meant heraldry, like the right to a family crest, the fact that you get to have a pennant with a lion rampant or dormant on it, armorial, armed conflict, Ben s book on heraldry, dormant, torpor, the fact that it would be really nice to see all these gun nuts just settle down and design their own coat of arms and get some plaques made, the fact that maybe they could have their own tartan too, get a whole Scottish thing going, a family clan, kilts, swordies, the fact that I wouldn t even mind bagpipes if they d just quit talking about the 2A for a while, and stopped killing people too the fact that I started reading Ducks, Newburyport in Gander, Newfoundland, the fact that I came home and my daughter was reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, the fact that Mr Darcy, Darcey, the fact that BTP, MTBE, CTE, KRW, AES are all things I discussed while reading the book which featured in the book, the fact that Mary Ellman wrote the seminal Thinking About Women and this book will become the seminal A Woman Thinking, the fact that this book is in the tradition of Joyce and Proust but with a fierce anger purely of its own, the fact that Edna O Brien said she had yet to meet anyone who has read and digested the whole of Finnegan s Wake except Richard Ellmann, the fact that unlike Proust Lucy Ellman s narrator bakes as well as eats madeleines, the fact that I finished the book and my daughter bought a madeleine back from her school trip to France, the fact that Open Carry, Daily Carry, the ability to carry off a 1000 page sentence, the fact that baking and shooting in the kitchen, Galley Kitchens, Galley Beggar, the gall to publish such a rule breaking fiercely blazing book, the fact is Galley Beggar, beggars, beg borrow steal but best of all buy a copy, the fact that Jane Austen, Persuasion, I hope I have persuaded you to read the book, the fact that the Lucy Ellman does so much better a jobhttps www.irishtimes.com culture bo I m a push over Antonomasia not so much as breathed the title than I ran off and pre order d thus un direct from the pub r direct from England this book Blow me over there s a LTD ED of 500 available and for just 18 quid is that proper English dear plus another 9 for shipping to Usofa minus 20 percent cuz I signed up for their newslitter and though it did take the entry of three 3 cards of credit my good faith before they d process ye ole Payment There are so many ways I m able to rationalize this purchase it s just almost like I m doing God s work by buying it I m really making the world a better place by doing so.I hope you folks have a happy scoot into the new year and be safe and well And maybe stumble across books the purchase of which you feel might almost be like doing Gods work because probably who knows it is Back to the Ducks Go to read the following for instance Ducks, Newburyport will be published on 4 July 2019 This is the special, limited edition run of 500 copies, available on pre order and while stock lasts The mass market paperback edition will be available closer to publication.For further details, including shipping rates, see below It is somehow hard not to feel optimistic in the hands of a writer so angry and intelligent The Guardian I dreamt last night about somebody complaining that he owned a lesser C zanne while I was tearing heartshaped buttons off a shirt, and something about a ferret, the fact that my dreams have become practical and less expansive, I think, since we got poorer, the fact that I should be swinging wild but instead my dreams are just about tidying the hen coop or unloading the dishwasher, or losing my address book, or I m cooking noodles for everybody and Leo has a plane to catch in half an hour and there s no taxi, or I find myself on a bicycle carrying a huge box, the fact that once I dreamt I ate one tiny piece of ham, and that was it, that was the whole dream, the fact that I dream all the wrong stuff and remember all the wrong stuff, what a goofball, a genuine idiot, the fact that why do I remember that Amish wool shop and not my mom, LATTICING one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of happy couples , Weapons of Mass Destruction, and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg Is there some trick to surviving survivalists School shootings Medical debts Franks n beans A scorching indictment of America s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder and a revolution in the novel.It s also very, very funny blurbs Lunatic and splenetic and distinctive I begin to suspect Lucy Ellmann might be some sort of genius The Telegraph Reading Ellmann is like finding bits of broken glass in your lollipop The Evening Standard Hilarious, eye wateringly funny I have found a new hero in Lucy Ellmann The Scotsman Ellmann is an expert juggler with words Her satire is deft, sophisticated, and enchantingly surreal The Sunday Telegraph Nominated for the Booker Prize 2019This book has a hypnotizing effect, as it relentlessly rambles on and on and on in what is NOT a stream of consciousness or, God forbid, one sentence No one in their right mind has a train of thought like this midwestern housewife, the language is like an artificial, highly associative, playful collage of memories, thoughts, songs, names, and terms, like a psychological implicit association test that has shape shifted into a novel Our protagonist contemplates random everyday tasks and mundane occurrences as well as serious social and political problems like gun culture and Trumpism, and there is also one personally defining event or less at the end of the text, everything entangled in one massive, 1,345 page block of words Is this, as the blurb claims, a scorching indictment of America s barbarity , a wonder , and a revolution in the novel Oh hell no and can the PR people of publishing houses please get a grip, this silly hyperbole is cringe inducing.Let me try to put it Ellmann style The fact that this book has nothing substantial to say, the fact that this text relies fully on its faux innovative style, the fact that the associations are often simply screaming look at me, I m experimental fiction , for Pete s sake, Pete Buttigieg, St Petersburg, Putin, Trump, MAGA, Lady Gaga, WTF, the fact that this book loves itself very much, the fact that you feel like riding a dead horse after you got the gist of the whole thing, maybe ride to the Old Town Road, can t nobody tell me nothing This is not great literaure, you can t tell me nothing fast forward Dead forests, guns, the end Ducks, Newburyport feels like a very, very long prank aiming to expose serious literature Full disclosure I read the first 10 % and the last around 100 pages of the actual text there s an appendix , and then bailed, because, well, you got to draw the line somewhere If you want to read a great experimental novel, consider fellow Booker nominee The Man Who Saw Everything, pick up Nicola Barker s new book I Am Sovereign or wait for Jesse Ball s upcoming masterpiece The Divers Game A Novel. I have a lot of respect for the publisher, Galley Beggar, and some of my GR and real life friends loved this novel, but this wasn t for me After 100 pages I decided to stop.There is a lot here and I think what one gets out of it will differ according to one s interest For me they include Korea and politics And indeed Korea South and North features throughout These are the first 5 mentions Your Views on North KoreaHillary, Qadaffi, Syria, North Korea, sisters, sororities, Elks, the Brontes, Phoebe and methe fact that some girls spread a nerve agent on the North Korean leader s brother, Kim Jong ill or somethingNorth Korean nuclear missilesthe fact that you have to wonder why slime eels have to be transported anywhere, but Koreans like them, the fact that they eat slime eels, friendly wolf eels, hagfish, Kim Jong Unshowcasing the word play Kim Jong Ill geddit It doesn t even make sense since the hanja for the il is which means sun and the respectful insight into different cultures Indeed I note that the perceptive review in Private Eye also picked up on the oriental stereotyping , which is also a feature when a Chinese character is mentioned Ming Dynasty porcelain, Mao jackets, terracotta warriors, Great Wall, wontons, pot stickers cheap toys and electrical goods Not surprisingly, Trump gets 137 mentions these are the first 10 the fact that Trump wants to take cover away from 630,000 Ohioans who took up Obamacarethe fact that Trump wants to get mining and oil drilling going in all the national parks, MAGA Rapid SSitty, SSSouth Dakota , James Mason, Trump Tower, beauty pageants, sexual harassment, ssssexual harassment obstruction of justice, which is something Trump gets up to all the timetrompe d oeil Trump l oeil, Trump liesnot Trumpthe fact that Trump called Melania a monster when she is pregnant, and maybe she is a monster, but he s one to talk, fat bullythat twenty foot inflatable rooster outside the White House really does look like Trumpthe fact that Mummy thought it was rude to comment on someone s appearance, but Trump does it all day, Sad the fact I had a bad dream about trump last night, the fact he admitted to me he couldn t cope with the joba highly insightful analysis, as we are less than 18 months away from the next US election, as to how Trump manages to appeal to his base and the strategies the Democrats might use to defeat him.And the book carries on in that vein 127 times for Trump.It s not that I dislike long books Knausgaard, Proust, Marias, Ferrante and Murakami have all written much longer novels albeit in most cases, published in separate volumes , but they are world class writers Addition I raised my concerns on the cultural point with the publisher They were gracious enough to send me a helpful reply Most importantly, the thing to say is that it s the internal monologue of a character It s the thoughts going through a particular person s head Crucially, the un policed thoughts What she thinks doesn t necessarily reflect Lucy s worldview Or anyone else s It s true to a very particular person of an age, in a place, at a time Those thoughts aren t always going to make us feel easy, or comfortable Fiction is here to confront us with realities and ideas we might not like, among other things She is not meant to be a perfect human being If you re seeing faults with her, that s because she s a fully realised creation.That s the most important thing to remember, I think Even so, if it isn t too absurd, and because I kind of love her, I do also want to defend this fictional person a bit I can t remember the context, but I don t even think the Kim Jong ill thing is a joke She s just trying to remember his name Nor is she likely to have a clue about hanja or be aware that people might get upset in relation to them I m now actually imagining her horrified thought stream as she realises that there are sensitivities there I also kind of feel like you ve answered your own question about the Chinese character producing clich s those are the first things that a person like this is likely to think of, don t you think Finally, it might be worth considering how race is one of the central themes of Ducks, Newburyport, and how the narrator s insensitivities are a vital part of this For example, her eldest child is part Indigenous and there is a pivotal scene involving her, a painful admission about feeling like an outsider, not White in a White family, and the narrator s horrified realisation of her own complicity, unawareness, and the fact that if you ll excuse the pun , she has simply had no idea So there is a very complex web here which is developed throughout the novel.I hope you carry on reading It feels sad for anyone not to be able to share in the pleasure of this book And I guess that s the final thing It s intended as a gift for anyone and everyone Except, maybe, Donald Trump One thing I notice about experimental novels is that I become fully immersed and start obsessing about them This happened with Ducks, Newburyport.From July 9th to July 28th I could not stop thinking about this book every day I just wanted to know about the narrator s thoughts, how the plot would develop, the use of language and I would search the web every time I would come across some sort of term or acronym then I found out there s a glossary of said acronyms in the back of the book d oh The fact is that when I finished Ducks. I felt kind of sad, mainly because I had grown to like the narrator and I enjoyed reading about her worldview.So what is huge 1030 page tome about Does it really consist of one sentence is it a purely stream of conscious novel The answers to these questions are both yes and no.Ducks, Newburyport main protagonist is an Ohio housewife While she s baking she ruminates on many topics, ranging from the validity of Pluto as a planet to gun culture in the US These thoughts do form on sentence punctuated by commas and the words the fact that This is not one long info dump though As the novel progresses we readers then see the narrator s talk about her life, how she came across her second husband, each of her four kids and other experiences that happened in the past By the end of the book, the reader has complete knowledge about her Just as a not this is not in chronological order and it s up to the reader to piece everything together.Also there s a subplot in the book, which involves a mountain lion and it is written in a conventional format By time the lioness plot with overlap with the main one Also it s worth noting that the book also contains a longish poem, a map, an inventory and an advert.Despite the myriad of themes two main ones occur One is motherhood Our narrator questions whether she is a good mother and this is accentuated by certain events which occur at the end of the novel and the lioness subplot.The other major theme is the environment, rather the destruction of which is a common theme of all the longlisted Booker novels I ve read so far The narrator worries about chemicals going into rivers, the mass killing of animals and air pollution More importantly she worries about how this will effect future generations.Despite the one sentence, stream of conscious yadda yadda yadda, Ducks, Newburyport is quite readable Once one gets used to the first few pages, which is a scene set up, then things go smoothly In my case, I was so engrossed by the narrator s plights and backstory, I completely forgot I was reading a sentence without full stops.Without any doubt, and I will declare this Ducks, Newburyport is one of the greatest novels I have read Not only is it a commentary about US culture in the 21st century but it also serves as a warning sign that the problems that are happening worldwide may become worse if we are not careful I have stated before that nowadays US novelists are focusing on the shattering of the American Dream, well now that has it s magnum opus and that is Ducks, Newburyport. Placeholder capsule review A woman traumatised by the deranged direction her country has taken seems to be in the initial throes of a breakdown Overworked, over conscious of everything past, present and future and struggling to establish anything at all as real hence the repetition of the fact that hence the constant repetitive revisitation of so many seismic, still impossible to believe experiences she circles the drain, stunned into a ceaseless neurotic monologue, and can only elude its quickening pull by leaning on comforting distractions film commentary, childhood reminscences, digressive reconsiderations of the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Joyce Carol Oates, tributes to her second husband all of which become corroded by her desperation and act as corollaries to myriad crises, including a mountain lion on the loose and a daughter who suddenly leaves home Perhaps chief among the many contributing factors to her burgeoning despair is her failure to accept that Donald Trump, moronic and shamelessly galling avatar of misogyny and gunlove, could possibly be her President.Magnificent. My Irish Times review is here, but for the moment only the opening section is available to non subscribers If it all becomes available, I will repost the link.