ETCHINGS IN AN HOURGLASS by Kate Simon
Kirkus Star

ETCHINGS IN AN HOURGLASS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A stunning conclusion to Simon's three-part autobiography (Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood, 1982; A Wider World: Portraits in an Adolescence, 1986). Here, facing her own death, which she calls ""the Bone Man"" (she died this past February, age 77), Simon recalls with breathtaking frankness the death of her first husband, two subsequent love affairs, and the deaths of her daughter and a younger sister she helped raise. She also reports on her travels to Paris and Mexico, to Rome and Russia, among other destinations. Rather than focusing on the sights, however, she describes the people she encountered, many of whom became her friends and, some, her lovers. Among the memorable vignettes is a brief portrait of ""Marthe,"" the elderly mayor of a small French town who during the German occupation of France stored valuables for her Jewish neighbors who were forced to flee. Simon tells of a bizarre sexual episode with an aging Hollywood actor, of boozy nights in Cozumel, of being interrogated in Santo Domingo by officials who were convinced her book of double-crostic puzzles was a code book. Finally, in a reflective mood, she muses on the pleasures of writing and of living and speculates on how she will meet death. As always, Simon writes with enormous grace, choosing her words with lapidary skill. It is her honesty that impresses most, however, as she speaks of her life with the rarest candor. A fitting culmination to a life lived with gusto and imagination.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1990
Publisher: Harper& Row