First fiction from prizewinning poet Ashley, about the slow recovery of a young woman traumatized by her unhappy marriage and her baby’s death.
When a city couple decides to sell their apartment and move full-time into their summer house, you can be pretty sure they’re either very happy together or very miserable. For Dore and Evan Dover, it’s obviously the latter. Dore, now in her late 30s, was married once before and had a baby girl who died in a car accident. After the child’s death, her marriage collapsed and she had a breakdown of sorts, but eventually put herself back together, married Evan, and began a new life. Now, however, she seems to be having a relapse. The story is told entirely from Dore’s point of view, and it follows her daily routines as she packs up the apartment and moves with Evan to a little house on an island six hours from the city. There, Dore works in the garden and takes long walks along the shore, while Evan spends his weekdays at his father’s place in the city and comes out to the island for weekends. What’s wrong? Evan admitted to having an affair with a girl at the office, but he assures Dore that it’s all over and done with. The deeper pain still seems to come from Dore’s loss of her little girl, Lise, and her inability to forgive herself for driving the car in which Lise was killed. Ashley’s is an intensely interior story, largely a collection of regrets and reminiscences, but it isn’t without direction, following as it does the train of thought and feeling by which Dore concludes that her life is with Evan and their life is in the city. Eventually they return, together, to start all over again.
Meager in plot but, still, a quite moving story of mourning and rebirth that avoids the obsessive sentimentality plaguing so many similar accounts.