A selection of short stories explores the impact and adjustment of individuals dealing with separation and the loss of lovers, spouses, parents, and friends
About the Author
Alice Adams was a novelist and short story writer. Born in Virginia, she graduated from Radcliffe College. She was the recipient of an Academy and Institute Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in San Francisco until her death in 1999.
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After You've Gone based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This collection of short stories is a series of views into the lives of women, mostly. These are not extraordinary women or even very important instances in their lives. In fact, all of them seemed exceedingly ordinary. Also, none of them really end. I mean, you come to the last page of the story, and that's all it is. The last page. No summing up, no climactic moment, just....the end. After the first few it was hard to invest in any of them, knowing the conflict wouldn't be resolved and you wouldn't have any idea whether they went on the way things were or made some sort of dynamic change. It all left me feeling a little...disconcerted. I like for stories, all of them, not just short stories, to have an ending. A denouement, a punchy line at the end that changes everything, something that makes you feel the story is over and you can go on to the next. All the stories were exceedingly well-written, though. The characters were well developed, as well as the settings, so hard to do in the protracted space of a short story. My only issue is the lack of endings, but that's enough to ruin the whole thing for me. Another reader without my particular hang-up on this issue might like this collection just fine.
After You've Gone could be described as a compilation of stories with two central themes: relationships and change. There are fourteen short stories in all and every one of them addresses the subject of a change (mostly involving women or from the woman's point of view). The changes range from divorce, loss, aging...It's as if Adams rode the train to work everyday and stared at the same fourteen people. Ordinary people. Many of them with underwhelming, ordinary stories to tell. Each story is a moment in time for each passenger. My favorite one was the title story. A newly divorced woman is addressing her ex-husband. It's the only one of its kind. Her tone takes on different emotions throughout the monologue. Regret is obvious as she recounts the things she misses about him, irritation becomes apparent when revealing his new lover has been writing to her, and a show of defiance when she talks about her new/old relationship and the trip the plans to take with him. It's brilliant. the rest of the stories are a little redundant. The characters are either academic, artistic or medical. Most live in some part of California. I found reading more than two stories in one sitting was a little tiresome.