As a woman, getting one’s roots touched up can be tiring. While I appreciate the vast expanse of magazines available for reading at Joseph’s Salon and Spa, I usually pack a book in my purse. It can keep my mind occupied a little longer and more completely while my hair goes from dirty blonde to a darker shade. Last week, my attention was held by Kathleen Alcott’s Infinite Home.
I hadn’t been familiar with Ms. Alcott’s work before, though her essays and fiction have appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books, so I went into this novel blindly, without expectations. The beautiful graphic and handwritten font cover had appeared in numerous Instagram posts, reading suggestion lists, and Pinterest boards that I follow, so I assumed I couldn’t go wrong with a book so increasingly popular.
Written from the many different perspectives of the characters within, we learn of an apartment building in Brooklyn where our landlady, Edith, is entering the age of senility. When Edith receives a long-lost visitor with cruel intentions, each of her tenants begin to struggle with the thought of no longer having this oddly comforting place they call home. Each of those living there must come out of their shell to comfort the lady of the house, and, as it happens, each other as well.
One of the tenants, Paulie, speaks and thinks in such a way that I almost fell in love with him and his perspective. The way he speaks of an afternoon at the zoo and a visit to Central Park (see page 54) had me amused at his way of thought, as well as amused at our author’s bright talent.
Imagine my surprise, when, after I finished reading, I read the small biography of Kathleen Alcott on the inside of the back cover. Born in 1988, shes a half-decade younger than I am, yet writes with the pentameter and understanding of someone I would have associated with my grandmother. She’s charming in the best of ways- as are those she writes about.
I finished in one day, staying up until almost 2am, curious to find any resolve. I found it, as did those within the story. I also found myself crying at 1:30 that same morning.
Written beautifully, and in a way that makes one question what it’s really like to live alone, this is a book I highly recommend (and have already begun devouring a second time).
As usual, reach out if you’ve read before and want to discuss. Local and want to borrow? Let me know.